Bruins hire Joe Sacco for staff

The Boston Bruins have hired Joe Sacco as an assistant coach, the team announced Thursday.

Sacco, 45, of Medford, Massachusetts, and a former Boston University standout, served as an assistant coach for the Buffalo Sabres last season.

He also served as head coach of the Colorado Avalanche from 2009 to 2013 and recorded a 130-134-40 record, and won the Jack Adams Award in 2010.

"It's obviously an exciting time to be part of the Bruins organization right now and the success that they've had in the past number of years," Sacco said during a conference call on Thursday. "And moving forward, especially with the group now, I feel pretty fortunate right now to step in and serve in the capacity that I'll be doing so. So it's an honor and I feel fortunate to be part of such a strong group, a team that's had success for a number of years, and hopefully we can continue that success moving forward."

Bruins coach Claude Julien said there were several candidates for the job, but that Sacco stood out for several reasons.

"He's got some great experience, not only as a hockey player but also as an assistant coach, whether it's been in the American League or NHL," Julien said. " He's also been a head coach in both leagues as well, so I think just the fact that we've been able to have a guy who has that much experience coming into our group. Also, the fact that he's been a player for such a long time, we all know that he'll have instant respect from our players. For me, it was important to get one of those kinds of coaches because of the fact that I give them a lot of responsibilities and it was important to have somebody that I felt real comfortable with and that I could trust extremely well. So Joe was that guy."

Sacco's experience with the Western Conference was also a draw, said Julien.

"He spent more years in the Western Conference so he'll have a real good knowledge of that as well," Julien said. "We as coaches, the three of us that are still here, have a pretty good knowledge of the Eastern Conference. So if anything I think he will be able to help us even more with the Western Conference side."

Sacco replaces Geoff Ward, who resigned from Claude Julien's staff earlier this summer to take a head-coaching job in Germany.

Sacco played 13 seasons and 738 games in the NHL with five teams, including the Toronto Maple Leafs, Anaheim Ducks, New York Islanders, Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers. He scored 94 goals and added 119 assists for 213 points.