Lightning name Jon Cooper new head coach
General manager Steve Yzerman tabs AHL Coach of the Year
The Tampa Bay Lightning have named Jon Cooper the eighth head coach in franchise history.
Lightning vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced on Monday that Cooper will join the team after spending two seasons (2010-12) coaching the Norfolk Admirals, Tampa Bay's minor league affiliate, and the Syracuse Crunch this season.
The announcement comes two days after the team fired coach Guy Boucher.
"We are very pleased to introduce Jon as our head coach today," said Yzerman. "He has had success at every level he has coached and is extremely familiar with our organization, as well as our players. He has a tremendous record at all levels and we feel he is ready to make the move to the NHL."
The 45-year-old coach guided the Admirals to the Calder Cup championship last year, earning the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL’s top coach. He led the team to a franchise-record 55 wins and 113 points, as well as winning 28 straight games.
"There is no other team in hockey that I would rather be coaching than the Tampa Bay Lightning," said Cooper. "It’s quite a tribute to Steve Yzerman, Jeff Vinik and the organization they are building that they are proud to promote from within. I look forward to getting to know the players and getting to work right away."
Assistant coaches Martin Raymond and Dan Lacroix took charge during Tampa's 3-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday night. Both assistants will continue alongside Cooper with the Lightning.