The Seattle Kracken is close to beginning play this season the 32nd National Hockey League team and they are beginning to assemble not only a roster, but a head coach. Thursday, general manager Ron Francis announced who his first bench boss will be in Seattle and it’s good news for the Boston Bruins.
Francis announced that Dave Hakstol will be the franchise’s first head coach. Hakstol was the head coach at the University of North Dakota, before in 2015 moving to the professional ranks with the Philadelphia Flyers. Following three seasons in Philadelphia, he spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
With the Kracken naming Hakstol their coach, that means the Boston Bruins won’t be losing a current assistant coach on Bruce Cassidy’s staff to Seattle. Bruins assistant Joe Sacco interviewed with Francis and the Kracken and was thought to be a finalist for the position, but he was ultimately passed for Hakstol.
Sacco just completed his seventh season as an assistant coach in Boston. Hired in June of 2014, he was an assistant to Claude Julien and was retained by Cassidy when he was formally named head coach in 2017.
A former NHL player and Boston native, growing up a short drive from the TD Garden in Medford, Massachusetts, Sacco was one of several candidates that the Kracken reportedly interviewed. According to Pierre LeBrun, Rick Tocchet, former New York Rangers, and Boston University coach David Quinn and Rocky Thompson also met with Seattle.
With the Kracken hiring Hakstol, that leaves two openings for head coaching the NHL, the Buffalo Sabres and Arizona Coyotes. Early this month, it was reported that Providence Bruins coach Jay Leach interviewed for the Coyotes job, which would leave an opening with the Bruins American Hockey League team.
With teams sniffing the Bruins organization looking to interview assistant and minor league coaches, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before one of them is picked to be an NHL head coach.