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Avs give Sacco two-year extension

The Colorado Avalanche announced Wednesday that they have extended the contract of coach Joe Sacco for two years, through the 2013-14 season.

"Joe has earned the opportunity to lead this young team," Avalanche general manager and executive vice president Greg Sherman said in a statement. "Our club made significant strides this season, and we look forward to continuing that next season."

The Avalanche has compiled a 114-109-23 record in three seasons under Sacco. He led what was the NHL's youngest team to a 41-35-6 record (88 points) this past season, an increase of 20 points from 2010-11. It was the fourth-best improvement in the NHL, behind only Florida and St. Louis (both plus-22), and New Jersey (plus-21).

"Our team competed hard and battled all year long," Sacco said in a statement. "This group had a lot of energy and they are eager to keep working hard and improving."

The Medford, Mass., native was a finalist for the Jack Adams Award in his rookie season behind the bench in 2009-10, when he guided Colorado to a 43-30-9 record and a second-place finish in the Northwest Division. The Avs became the first Western Conference team to make the playoffs after finishing last in the conference the previous season since the league went to 30 teams in 2000-01.

The 2012-13 season will mark Sacco's eighth with the organization. Prior to leading the Avalanche, Joe spent two seasons as coach of the American Hockey League's Lake Erie Monsters. He also spent two years as an assistant in the AHL.

Sacco was a fourth-round pick (No. 71) by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1987 NHL Draft. He appeared in 738 games over his 13-year career in the NHL, which included stints with Toronto, Anaheim, the New York Islanders, Washington and Philadelphia, finishing with 94 goals and 119 assists for 213 points. He represented the United States at the 1992 Olympics in Albertville, France, in which the Americans finished fourth.

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