DENVER, Colorado (AFP) Joe Sacco, who spent 13 years playing in the National Hockey League and helped the United States place fourth at the 1992 Winter Olympics, was named coach of the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday.

The 40-year-old American has coached Colorado's top development club for the past two seasons after two prior years in an assistant's role. He also served as an assistant coach for the US team at this year's World Championships.

"This organization has provided me with all the necessary tools and support to be successful and grow as a coach," Sacco said.

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