Since 2015, Jon Cooper has been one of the top coaches in the NHL. There has been little recognition by his peers, and he has not taken home any hardware. But he has had the Lightning in three Stanley Cup Finals and an Eastern Conference Final.
During that period, the only blemish on his record is the first-round loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2019.
Cooper has won championships at every level where he has coached. The Calder Cup at Norfolk in 2012 and, of course, the two Stanley Cups with the Lightning the last two seasons.
Now, Coach Cooper can add another team to his coaching resume.
Earlier this month, Canada announced that Cooper would coach Team Canada at the Winter Olympics in Beijing in 2022.
Cooper, will be back behind the bench for his 10th season as coach of the Lightning. He has a 384-197-53 record in Tampa and is also the longest-tenured coach in the NHL.
He guided the Lightning to the second-best record in NHL history during the 2018-19 season with 128 points and a record-tying 62 wins.
Cooper talked about the honor to coach for Team Canada. “To be a part of this, as a young kid in Canada growing up and watching hockey and having your dreams of whether it’s to play in the NHL and win the Stanley Cup or be a part of the Olympics, obviously I didn’t get to do that as a player, but to be a part of that as a coach is, it’s so exciting.”
The NHL has not yet decided to participate in the Beijing Olympics but did schedule a break from February fifth to February twenty-second to allow for player participation.
If NHL players do not participate in the Beijing Olympics, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the schedule would be adjusted accordingly.
Team Canada would also need to name new coaches.
Cooper will be coaching with Barry Trotz, Bruce Cassidy, Peter DeBoer. Cooper talked about the great opportunity to coach Team Canada and work with such great coaches.
It is an honor to be entrusted with leading Canada’s Men’s Olympic Team next year in Beijing. And to be able to carry on the rich tradition of hockey excellence associated with Hockey Canada. The opportunity to work with an excellent management group and an elite-level coaching staff of Barry, Bruce, and Peter is a great privilege. I have many fond memories of the Olympics, from watching games as a young kid to thrilling gold medal victories, and I look forward to helping create lasting memories for Canadians across the country while our team competes for a gold medal.
Cooper was a coach with Team Canada before. He coached the 2017 World Championship team to a silver medal.
NHL players first participated in the Winter Olympics in 1998. Team Canada has won gold three times. In 2002, 2010, and 2014.
NHL players did not participate in the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.