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Lightning coach Jon Cooper stays calm behind the bench by chewing gum

Monday, 04.21.2014 / 3:45 PM / News

The Canadian Press

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Lightning coach Jon Cooper stays calm behind the bench by chewing gum

TAMPA, Fla. - What's the secret to Jon Cooper's calm demeanour behind the Tampa Bay Lightning bench? Apparently chewing gum.

Cooper started the tradition of chewing gum when he got into coaching and it has become a habit or superstition ever since.

"One piece goes in at the beginning and it stays in the rest of the game," he said. "It doesn't come out."

Cooper, a Prince George, B.C., native, is in his first full NHL season. He won championships in the AHL and USHL previously. Before that, he was a lawyer.

Gum-chewing isn't something he studies, but it's part of his routine.

"I don't watch myself on the bench so I don't know how hard I chew it," he said. "Apparently I do chew it pretty hard."

Given how close the Lightning and Montreal Canadiens have played each other this season and then into overtime in Game 1 —with the Habs winning the playoff opener 5-4 — that can become more of a chore than anyone would expect.

"By the time you get deep into overtimes, it's a tough one to chew," Cooper said.

Quote of the Day

I have been blessed to play for 16 years in the NHL; it has been an amazing ride. I would like to thank the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers organizations and owners for providing me the opportunity to play the sport I love for so many years. I could have never played for so long or accomplished all that I have without the unwavering love and support from my wife, Heather, our three sons, Ryan, Lucas, and Mason, and my parents.

— Martin St. Louis after announcing his retirement from the NHL on Thursday