Former Bandits coach takes reins of AHL club
The Tampa Bay Lightning has named former St. Louis Bandits head coach Jon Cooper head coach of the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Norfolk Admirals, the NHL team's top minor league affiliate.
“We're pleased to announce Jon as the head coach of the Admirals,” said Admirals general manager Julien BriseBois. “He has excelled at a championship level in each location he has coached and we're happy he elected to continue his career in the Lightning organization. Jon is a perfect fit as we strive to restore a winning culture for our players and the fans in Norfolk.”
While in St. Louis, Cooper led the Bandits to back-to-back Robertson Cup championships in 2007 and 2008. Cooper was named NAHL Coach of the Year during the 2005-06 and 2007-08 seasons while compiling a 223-93-17 regular and postseason record in five seasons with the Bandits organization.
“I'm honored and humbled to be offered this great opportunity with organizations led by first-class individuals such as Jeff Vinik, Ken Young, Steve Yzerman, Julien BriseBois and Guy Boucher,” Cooper said. “With strong leadership from the ownership level down through both franchises, everyone is working towards making the Lightning and the Admirals an organization to be proud of and I’m honored that they’ve asked me to be part of it.”
Cooper has also spent time behind the bench internationally, most recently serving as the assistant coach for the USA Under-18 Team that competed in the 2008 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in Slovakia and Czech Republic. He also won a silver medal as head coach of the USA Under-17 Team that participated in the 2007 Five Nations Tournament in the Czech Republic. Cooper was named a finalist for the 2007 United States Olympic Committee’s Development Coach of the Year.
Both an American and Canadian citizen, Cooper played hockey at Notre Dame in Wilcox, Saskatchewan, before moving on to New York's Hofstra University. While at Hofstra, Cooper played hockey and lacrosse while earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He went on to obtain his law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Mich. Cooper closed his law practice in 2003 to focus on his coaching career.