Cooper named Canada coach at 2022 Olympics
Former NAHL head coach Jon Cooper was named coach of the Canada men's ice hockey team for the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
Cooper is entering his 10th season as Tampa Bay Lightning coach and guided them to back-to-back Stanley Cup championships in 2020 and 2021. The Lightning are 384-197-53 and have reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs seven times during Cooper's tenure. The Lightning won the Presidents' Trophy given to the best NHL team in the regular season with 128 points and an NHL record-tying 62 wins in 2018-19.
Boston Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, Vegas Golden Knights coach Peter DeBoer and New York Islanders coach Barry Trotz were named assistants.
"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 that is associated with Hockey Canada," Cooper said. "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."
Tampa Bay finished third in the eight-team Discover Central Division last season (36-17-3). It defeated the Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes, Islanders and Montreal Canadiens to win the Stanley Cup this past season.
“Under the leadership of Stanley Cup champion Jon Cooper, and with the contributions of this very skilled coaching staff, we are thrilled to have them lead us at the Olympics and represent our country with pride as they build a team that will compete for a gold medal," Hockey Canada's Tom Renney said.
Cooper was an assistant for Team North America at the World Cup of Hockey 2016 under Todd McLellan and coached Canada to a second-place finish at the 2017 IIHF World Championship, losing the title game 2-1 to Sweden in a shootout.
NHL participation in the 2022 Beijing Olympics has not been finalized.
There is a pause in the NHL schedule from Feb. 7-22 if the League reaches an agreement with the NHL Players' Association and the International Ice Hockey Federation for NHL players to participate in the upcoming Olympics. Talks continue on outstanding issues, including securing appropriate COVID-19 insurance.
The NHL and NHLPA retain the authority to decide not to participate in the Olympics should COVID-19 conditions worsen or otherwise pose a threat to the health and safety of the players, or for any other reason that may warrant such a decision. If NHL players don't participate, the League will release a revised schedule that, to the greatest extent possible, will adopt the dates and games from the schedule announced July 22.
Cooper began his NAHL coaching career with the Texarkana Bandits in the 2003-04 season. He coached in the NAHL a total of five seasons with Texarkana and St. Louis, totaling 290 regular season games, which is second only to his time served coaching in the NHL. In 2004-05 and again in 2007-08, he was honored as the NAHL Coach of the Year. Cooper led the Bandits to back-to-back Robertson Cup Championships in 2007 and again in 2008.