Jon Cooper (ice hockey)

Jon Cooper (born August 23, 1967) is a Canadian-American professional ice hockey coach who is the head coach for the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League (NHL).

Jon Cooper
Cooper (right) stands alongside Luke Richardson at the 2013 AHL All-Star Game
Born (1967-08-23) August 23, 1967
Prince George, British Columbia, Canada
PositionHead coach
TeamTampa Bay Lightning
Previous team(s)Syracuse Crunch
Norfolk Admirals
Green Bay Gamblers
St. Louis Bandits
Years as a coach2001–present
Years as an NHL coach2013–present
Years with current team2013–present

Coaching career

Metro Jets

Cooper began his coaching career in junior hockey as an assistant with the Capital Centre Pride of the North American Hockey League. At that time the Pride were working closely with the Metro Jets of the Central States Hockey League (now North American 3 Hockey League). The Jets owner and Governor, Butch Wolfe, gave Cooper his first chance as a head coach with the Jets. During the 2001–02 season, Cooper led the Jets to the Silver Cup - the USA Hockey National Junior B Championship.[1]

Texarkana Bandits/St. Louis Bandits

In 2003, Cooper returned to the North American Hockey League (NAHL) to coach the expansion Texarkana Bandits. In 2004–05 he was named the NAHL Coach of the Year. Cooper continued with the Bandits franchise when it relocated to St. Louis in 2006–07. During the 2006–07 season, the Bandits captured the Robertson Cup as league champion. The following season the Bandits would once again capture the Robertson Cup. Additionally, Cooper won his second NAHL Coach of the Year that season. Cooper spent a total of five seasons coaching in the NAHL before moving on to coach the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League.[2]

Green Bay Gamblers

Cooper was the coach of the United States Hockey League (USHL)'s Green Bay Gamblers starting in 2008. He led the team in 2008–09 and 2009–10 to a record of 84–27–9.[3] In 2010, the team won the Clark Cup for the League's championship.[3]

Norfolk Admirals/Syracuse Crunch

In 2010, Cooper was hired by the Tampa Bay Lightning to coach the Norfolk Admirals, the team's American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate. During the 2011–12 season, the Admirals won the Calder Cup as the AHL's champions.[4] The Admirals also set the record for the longest regular season winning streak at 28 games in a row.[5][6] Additionally, Cooper won the 2012 Louis A. R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL's most outstanding head coach.[7]

For the 2012–13 season, Cooper became the head coach of the Syracuse Crunch after the Lightning changed their AHL affiliation.[8] In 65 games with the Crunch, Cooper led the team to a 39–18–3–5 record, the best in the AHL at the time of his promotion.[9]

Tampa Bay Lightning

On March 25, 2013, following the dismissal of Head Coach Guy Boucher,[10] the Tampa Bay Lightning announced that Cooper would become the eighth head coach in franchise history.[11] After leading the Lightning to their best season in franchise history in points (108) and wins (50), Cooper coached the Tampa Bay Lightning to their second Prince of Wales Trophy as the Eastern Conference Champion.[12] The Lightning lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final.[13]

On March 22, 2016, Cooper recorded his 143rd win as the Lightning's head coach. The win moved Cooper past Terry Crisp for 2nd all-time in wins in franchise history.[14] On November 8, 2017, Cooper recorded his 200th career win as head coach of the Lightning. Cooper joined John Tortorella as the only coaches in franchise history to record 200 wins.[15][16] On January 7, 2018, Cooper was named as head coach of the Atlantic Division for the 63rd National Hockey League All-Star Game, which was played at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. The selection was because the Lightning were the team with the highest points percentage in the Atlantic Division.[17] On March 30, 2018, Cooper recorded his 240th career NHL win against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.[18] The win moved Cooper past John Tortorella for most wins in franchise history.[19]

On January 5, 2019, Cooper was named to the 2019 National Hockey League All-Star Game.[20] This was Cooper's second consecutive selection to the NHL All-Star game.[21] On March 18, 2019, Cooper coached the Lightning to their first Presidents' Trophy in franchise history with a victory over the visiting Arizona Coyotes at Amalie Arena.[22] On March 21, 2019, Cooper recorded his 300th career NHL win in a 6–3 Lightning win over the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena.[23] On March 26, 2019, Cooper signed a multi-year contract extension to remain as the head coach of the Lightning.[24] On April 1, 2019, Cooper coached the Lightning to their 60th win of the season. With the win, the Lightning became only the 3rd team in NHL history to reach the mark and Cooper became the 2nd coach in NHL history to reach the mark.[25][26]


On November 13, 2015, Team North America general manager, Peter Chiarelli, named Cooper as an assistant coach for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. Cooper served as an assistant coach with Peter DeBoer, Dave Tippett and Jay Woodcroft under Team North America head coach Todd McLellan.[27]

On April 11, 2017, Hockey Canada named Cooper as the head coach of Canada's men's national ice hockey team for the 2017 IIHF World Championship tournament. Cooper was joined by assistant coaches Gerard Gallant, Dave Hakstol, and Dave King.[28] On May 21, 2017, Cooper coached Team Canada to a silver medal. Team Canada lost to Team Sweden 2–1 in a shootout.[29]

Personal life

Cooper was born in Prince George, British Columbia. He played high school hockey at Notre Dame in Wilcox, Saskatchewan. He graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration from Hofstra University in 1989. Despite his prior lacrosse experience being that of the box variety, he was a letterman in each of the first four years of John Danowski's tenure as the varsity program's head coach. An attackman who eventually transitioned into a midfielder,[30] Cooper scored 74 goals with 25 assists for 99 points and was a member of East Coast Conference championship teams as a junior and senior. He also played one year of club hockey during his time at Hofstra.[31]

He earned a law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan.[7] Prior to his career as a hockey coach, Cooper served as a public defender for 11 years.[32] Cooper started playing hockey again while attending law school, ultimately leading to Cooper's first experience coaching hockey at Lansing Catholic Central High School.[32] Cooper would eventually land a job with the St. Louis Bandits of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), which lead to other coaching positions.[32]

Cooper is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada.[33] Cooper's mother was American, while his father was Canadian.[32] Cooper and his wife Jessie have twin daughters and a son.[7]

On September 16, 2016, the creation of the annual Coop's Catch for Kids charity fishing tournament was announced. The event is being done in partnership with the V Foundation. The tournament's purpose is for benefiting pediatric cancer research at Moffitt Cancer Center and All Children's Hospital. The event will launch from the Tampa Convention Center docks and will consist of a catch and release inshore grand slam tournament. Anglers will be fishing for snook, redfish, and trout. Each boat will feature a Lightning player or celebrity. The inaugural event was held on Tuesday, October 11 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.[34]

Head coaching record

TeamYearRegular seasonPostseason
TBL2012–13* 16583(13)4th in SoutheastMissed playoffs
TBL2013–14 82462791012nd in Atlantic04.000Lost in First Round
TBL2014–15 82502481082nd in Atlantic1412.538Lost in Stanley Cup Finals
TBL2015–16 8246315972nd in Atlantic116.647Lost in Conference Finals
TBL2016–17 82423010945th in AtlanticMissed playoffs
TBL2017–18 82542351131st in Atlantic116.647Lost in Conference Finals
TBL2018–19 82621641281st in Atlantic04.000Lost in First Round
Total50830515944 2 division titles3632.5295 playoff appearances

* – Mid-season replacement

Coaching honors


  1. "Former Jets coach Jon Cooper named head coach of the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning". North American 3 Hockey League. March 3, 2013. Retrieved April 15, 2017.
  2. "Former Jets coach Jon Cooper named head coach of the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning". North American 3 Hockey League. March 3, 2013. Retrieved April 15, 2017.
  3. Leahy, Sean. "Who the heck is Jon Cooper, new Tampa Bay Lightning head coach". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved February 22, 2014.
  4. "Norfolk Admirals win Calder Cup". ESPN. June 9, 2012. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  5. Pupello, Peter (March 21, 2012). "Unfavorable circumstances make Norfolk Admirals' record-setting win streak even more remarkable". Tampa Bay Lightning. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  6. Stubits, Brian (April 16, 2012). "AHL's Norfolk Admirals close regular season with 28 straight wins". CBS Sports. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  7. "Tampa Bay Lightning Hockey Administration". Tampa Bay Lightning. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  8. "Lightning Enter Into Affiliation Agreement With AHL's Syracuse Crunch". Tampa Bay Lightning. June 14, 2012. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  9. "Lightning hire Jon Cooper as coach". Tampa Bay Lightning. March 25, 2013. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  10. "Lightning Release Guy Boucher of Coaching Duties". Tampa Bay Lightning. March 24, 2013. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  11. "Lightning name Jon Cooper as head coach". Tampa Bay Lightning. March 25, 2013. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  12. "Prince of Wales Trophy". NHL. The National Hockey League. Retrieved June 18, 2015.
  13. "Blackhawks claim third Stanley Cup in six seasons with shutout of Lightning – Recap". ESPN. June 16, 2015. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  14. Long, Corey (March 22, 2016). "Lightning tied for first after win against Red Wings". National Hockey League. Retrieved November 9, 2017.
  15. Gilmore, Eric (November 9, 2017). "Top line shines for Lightning against Sharks". National Hockey League. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  16. @TBLightning (November 10, 2017). "Wednesday's win in San Jose clocked in as No. 200 for Coach Cooper in his NHL tenure, second only to John Tortorella (239) in Lightning history" (Tweet) via Twitter.
  17. NHL (January 7, 2018). "Jon Cooper named Atlantic Division coach for 2018 NHL All-Star Game". Retrieved January 7, 2018.
  18. Satriano, David (March 30, 2018). "Lightning regain first in Atlantic, defeat Rangers". Tampa Bay Lightning. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  19. @BBurnsNHL (March 30, 2018). "Jon Cooper recorded 240th career NHL win and passed John Tortorella (239) for most coaching wins in Lightning franchise history" (Tweet) via Twitter.
  20. "Jon Cooper named Atlantic Division coach at 2019 NHL All-Star Game". Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  21. @BBurnsNHL (January 5, 2018). "2nd year in a row Cooper will be behind the Atlantic bench" (Tweet) via Twitter.
  22. Blackburn, Pete (March 18, 2019). "Tampa Bay Lightning are your 2018-2019 Presidents' Trophy winners ... obviously". CBS Sports. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  23. @TBLightning (March 21, 2019). "500 games, 300 wins. Congrats, Coach!" (Tweet) via Twitter.
  24. "Cooper signs contract to remain Lightning coach". Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  25. "Lightning top Sens, become 3rd team to reach 60-win mark". Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  26. @BBurnsNHL (April 1, 2019). "Here are the coaches with that have had 60-win seasons in the NHL: 1) Scotty Bowman (twice) 2) Jon Cooper" (Tweet) via Twitter.
  27. "Jon Cooper Named Assistant Coach for Team North America for 2016 World Cup of Hockey". November 13, 2015. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
  28. "Jon Cooper to Coach Team Canada at 2017 IIHF World Championship". April 11, 2017. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  29. "Sweden defeats Canada in shootout to win 2017 IIHF world title". Sportsnet. May 21, 2017. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
  30. Lorenzo, Stephen. "From Hofstra to Tampa Bay Lightning coach: Jon Cooper's road to the NHL," New York Daily News, Friday, May 15, 2015.
  31. Gorchov, Stephen. "Hofstra Alumnus Jon Cooper Leads Tampa Bay Lightning Into NHL’s Eastern Conference Finals," Hofstra University Athletics, Friday, May 15, 2015.
  32. Satkowiak, Ryan (October 2013). "The Road Less Traveled: Jon Cooper's Rise Up NHL Coaching Ranks". USA Hockey Magazine. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
  33. Erik Erlendsson (March 25, 2013). "Tampa Bay Lightning hire Cooper as head coach". Tampa Bay Online. Retrieved March 26, 2013.
  34. Tampa Bay, Lightning (September 28, 2016). "Lightning's Jon Cooper To Host Charity Fishing Slam". Tampa Bay Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  35. NHL (January 7, 2018). "Jon Cooper named Atlantic Division coach for 2018 NHL All-Star Game". Retrieved January 7, 2018.
  36. "Babcock, Cooper, Roy voted Adams Award finalists". National Hockey League. May 6, 2014. Retrieved May 7, 2015.
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Guy Boucher
Head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning
Succeeded by
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