It’s where he grew up in Blind River, going to the rink at 5:30 a.m. in the middle of winter – it’s where he played junior hockey for the Oshawa Generals in the Ontario Hockey League.
It’s also where he’ll coach Team Chara in the 2012 All-Star game at Scotiabank Place, the home of the Ottawa Senators, and he couldn’t be more excited about it.
“The fact that you’re coaching some of the best players in the league and the fact that it’s home is certainly something even more special,” Julien said. “[I’m] getting an opportunity to visit with family, have them come to the game and make a nice week of it.
"I grew up here in Ottawa, played my minor hockey here and there’s a lot of people you know. If I was going to coach another All-Star game, I couldn’t ask for a better time.”
However, Julien won’t be the only member of the All-Star team going “home” this weekend.
For Bruins defenseman and All-Star captain Zdeno Chara
, it’s a different kind of home. It’s where he played from 2001-06 alongside Daniel Alfredsson before he signed with the Black & Gold.
“I had a really great five years in here, we had a really good team,” Chara said. “I just love to be back because obviously I spent some time over here and this city, this team, really helped me to develop as a player and move me more ahead.
“It’s nice to be back. I know the city – I know a lot of people. I know how passionate the fans are – they’re extremely supportive.”
Just because Chara doesn’t play for the Senators anymore, Julien said he knows his top defenseman still respects and appreciates Ottawa. It’s where Chara transformed into one of the top defenseman in the league – something Julien said he’s very grateful for.
“I know for a fact Zdeno enjoyed playing here in Ottawa,” Julien said. “I know he’s grown a lot as a player since he’s been with the Senators and we were fortunate enough to have a pretty good player come to us in Boston that has already gone through the growing pains.
“There’s no doubt he has a lot of admiration for this organization and this city. And fortunately, or unfortunately, whichever way you want to look at it, moving around is part of the game whether it’s players, coaches, management – and he ended up in Boston where he’s very happy as well.
"Just because you’re moving around playing for another team, doesn’t mean you lose the respect and admiration of another organization.” --- Anthony Gulizia