Cooper (right) stands alongside Luke Richardson at the 2013 AHL All-Star Game
August 23, 1967 |
Prince George, British Columbia, Canada
|Team||Tampa Bay Lightning|
|Previous team(s)||Syracuse Crunch
Green Bay Gamblers
St. Louis Bandits
|Years with current team||2013-present|
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.
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.
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. In 2010, the team won the Clark Cup for the League's championship.
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. The Admirals also set the record for the longest regular season winning streak at 28 games in a row. Additionally, Cooper won the 2012 Louis A. R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL's most outstanding head coach.
For the 2012-13 season, Cooper became the head coach of the Syracuse Crunch after the Lightning changed their AHL affiliation. 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.
On March 25, 2013, following the dismissal of Head Coach Guy Boucher, the Tampa Bay Lightning announced that Cooper would become the eighth head coach in franchise history. 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. The Lightning lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final.
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. 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. 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.
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.
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. On May 21, 2017, Cooper coached Team Canada to a silver medal. Team Canada lost to Team Sweden 2-1 in a shootout.
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, 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.
He earned a law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan. Prior to his career as a hockey coach, Cooper served as a public defender for 11 years. Cooper started playing hockey again while attending law school, ultimately leading to Cooper's first experience coaching hockey at Lansing Catholic Central High School. Cooper would eventually land a job with the St. Louis Bandits of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), which would in turn lead to other coaching positions.
Cooper is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada. Cooper's mother was American, while his father was Canadian. Cooper and his wife Jessie have twin daughters, Julia and Josephine, and a son, Jonathan.
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.
|Team||Year||Regular Season||Post Season|
|TB||2012-13*||16||5||8||3||13||4th in Southeast||--||--||--||Did not qualify|
|TB||2013-14||82||46||27||9||101||2nd in Atlantic||0||4||.000||Lost in First Round|
|TB||2014-15||82||50||24||8||108||2nd in Atlantic||14||12||.538||Lost in Stanley Cup Finals|
|TB||2015-16||82||46||31||5||97||2nd in Atlantic||11||6||.647||Lost in Conference Finals|
|TB||2016-17||82||42||30||10||94||5th in Atlantic||--||--||--||Did not qualify|
|Total||344||189||120||35||413||0 Division Championships||25||22||.543|
* - Mid-season replacement