JON COOPER was named the ninth head coach in Lightning franchise history on March 25, 2013. He made his NHL coaching debut at AMALIE Arena on March 29, 2013 in a 5-4 shootout victory against the New Jersey Devils. In a little more than seven seasons as the Lightning's bench boss, Cooper has amassed a 348-180-50 record -- his .645 points percentage is the highest in franchise history -- while guiding the Bolts to a 2020 Stanley Cup Championship. He's also led the Lightning to four Eastern Conference Final appearances over the past six seasons, which also included a trip to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. In 2019 and 2014, he was named a finalist for the Jack Adams Award, given annually to the NHL's top coach. Cooper joined the Lightning after spending three seasons behind the bench of Tampa Bay's top minor league affiliates, the Norfolk Admirals (2010-12) and the Syracuse Crunch (2012-13), compiling a 133-62-26 (.661) record in 221 AHL games.
Cooper led the Bolts to the franchise's second Stanley Cup Championship in 2020, defeating the Dallas Stars four games to two in Edmonton, Alberta. After going 43-21-6 during the regular season which was cut short because of COVID-19, Cooper and the Bolts didn't need more than six games in any of their four rounds to capture the Stanley Cup. During the seven full seasons with Cooper behind the bench (2013-2020), the Lightning have enjoyed consistent success on the ice, averaging more than 100 points per campaign. Tampa Bay's 348 regular season wins since Cooper's hiring are the most in the entire NHL during that span. The Lightning have also been the league's best offensive team during that time, ranking first in the NHL with 1,839 goals.
Cooper guided the Lightning to the finest regular season in franchise history and one of the finest ever in the NHL in 2018-19, culminating in the franchise's first-ever Presidents' Trophy after finishing 21 points better than second place Boston and Calgary in the final regular season standings. Tampa Bay tied the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings for the NHL record for most victories in a single season after picking up win No. 62 in the final regular season game at Boston. The Lightning's 128 points were the fourth most in NHL history. The Bolts set franchise records for wins, points, home wins (tied with 2014-15), home points, road wins, road points, ROW, goals, goals per game, power-play percentage and longest win streak, among many others, in 2018-19. Also with Cooper behind the bench, Nikita Kucherov captured the Art Ross Trophy (NHL scoring champion), Hart Memorial Trophy (NHL MVP as voted by the PHWA) and Ted Lindsay Award (NHL MVP as voted by the NHLPA) and Andrei Vasilevskiy was awarded the Vezina Trophy (NHL top goaltender), the first such award given to a Lightning player, in 2018-19. Cooper earned his 100th career NHL victory on April 11, 2015, making him the fifth-fastest coach among those who debuted in the league since 2000 to reach that mark.
Prior to being named the bench boss of the Lightning, Cooper was awarded the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL's top coach in 2012 after guiding the Admirals to the Calder Cup Championship. In two years in Norfolk, he led the Admirals to a 94-44-18 regular season record and a 17-7 mark in the playoffs. In 2011-12, the Cooper-led Admirals set franchise records with 55 wins and 113 points en route to the organization's first Championship, and the first for a Lightning affiliate. Along the way, Cooper and his team set a North American professional sports record, winning a remarkable 28 consecutive games. That season Norfolk earned the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as the AHL's regular season points champion, while also capturing the league's East Division title.
Before joining the AHL ranks, Cooper also found success in junior hockey. He is the only coach to win a national championship in all three tiers of junior hockey in the United States. Before joining the Admirals, he coached the USHL's (Tier I) Green Bay Gamblers, posting an 84-27-9 record in two seasons. Under Cooper's guidance the Gamblers posted back-to-back seasons with the best record in the USHL and won the 2010 Clark Cup. In 2008-09, Cooper's first season, Green Bay saw a 50-point increase from the previous year, setting a USHL record for largest single-season improvement. He was rewarded with the 2009 and 2010 USHL General Manager of the Year Awards, as well as being named the 2010 USHL Coach of the Year. Cooper also won championships with the St. Louis Bandits of the NAHL (Tier II) in 2007 & 2008 while being named the league's Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2008. Cooper also guided the Metro Jets to the NA3HL (Tier III) national championship in 2002.
A native of Prince George, British Columbia, Cooper, 52, played high school hockey at Notre Dame in Wilcox, Saskatchewan. He then moved on to Hofstra University, where he obtained his bachelor's degree in business administration. While at Hofstra he was a four-year letter-winner with the men's Division I lacrosse team while also playing one year on the school's club hockey team. He then went on to earn a law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School (now Western Michigan University Cooley Law School) in Lansing, Michigan, where he practiced until 2003 when he closed his practice to pursue a career in coaching.
Cooper is active with a number of charitable causes. Among others, he continually participates in the battle against pediatric cancer and holds an annual event called Coop's Catch for Kids, a charity fishing derby which benefits local childhood cancer research and care organizations.