Boston, MA –
For 15 seasons, Don Sweeney was a staple on the Black & Gold's blueline. As such, Sweeney is one of the two defensemen to play over 1,000 games for the Bruins and remains in the top ten of the club's all-time lists in goals, assists and points by a d-man. In 2006, the Bruins alum joined general manager (and former Harvard hockey teammate) Peter Chiarelli's staff as the team's Director of Player Development and added the position of Director of Hockey Operations to his portfolio the following year.
And now, after three seasons in the Bruins front office, Sweeney will transition to a new role within the Boston organization -- assistant general manager.
"It's more in recognition of what he's done and he's an important part of our group" said general manager Peter Chiarelli when he was asked about the reasons for Sweeney's promotion.
"I spoke in my statement about the ability and willingness and the enthusiasm Donny has in working towards working with our group and that's reflected in the promotion," continued Chiarelli. "He's one of the hardest workers that I know and it's reflected in his work on the ice when he was playing and now in the office."
Sweeney referred to his journey through amateur and college hockey, the American Hockey League and, of course, the NHL.
"All those experiences have really helped me," said Sweeney, who explained that the genesis of this new assignment began during his last season in the NHL.
"I'll reference my year in Dallas," he said. "I was rooming with a young player and realized that I was in a bit more of a development role.
"The career was winding down at that point. So when I had the opportunity to spend time in Providence and work with our younger guys in development camp, I could draw from those experiences.
"Having gone through and having made the ride down 95 -- and sure as hell enjoying it one way rather than the other -- when you have that conversation you make that kid understand that I have driven it; I know what they're feeling," he said.
And while the Bruins prospect bound for Providence might be buoyed by Sweeney's presence and advice, the men in the B's front office are anchored by his enthusiasm, work ethic and will do attitude.
"We're evolving as a management group and we have some really good people in our group," said Chiarelli. "As far as job description and tasks and everything, I ask them to do everything. All of them. And they do everything that I ask them.
"There's so many...subtle things and major things that happen on a day-to-day basis, and that happen quickly, and you need high quality people to support you.
"I think it's important to have very strong people around and Donny [Don Sweeney] is certainly one of them."
This incarnation of the Black & Gold take their cues from Bruins tradition. Thus, the team concept is an integral part of the organization's success from the board room down to the boards.
"I'm learning from him [Peter Chiarelli] on a daily basis that is certainly invaluable," said Sweeney. "I played in the National Hockey League, but let me tell you [assistant GM] Jimmy Benning knows what it takes for all young players, in identifying who is going to get there.
"Pete [Chiarelli] has assembled a group of guys that really care."
As far as his joining Benning as a "co" assistant GM, Sweeney assured the media that there will be no need to worry about who is doing what in the Bruins offices on Causeway Street.
"You know, divvying up everything is probably the easy thing," he said. "That's because each and every one of us is looking to jump on board and pull in the same direction."
And thankfully for the Hub of Hockey, that direction points the good ship Boston Bruins toward a big silver trophy.