Cooper signs three-year contract extension to remain Lightning coach


TAMPA — Jon Cooper signed a three-year contract extension to remain coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning through at least the 2024-25 season on Tuesday.

Cooper led the Lightning to consecutive Stanley Cup championships the past two seasons. They will try to become the first team to win at least three in a row since the New York Islanders won four straight from 1980-83.

“It has been a tremendous honor to be the head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the past eight-plus seasons and I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to build on what we have here,” Cooper said. “My family and I love the organization and being a part of the Tampa Bay community, it is our home. I’d like to extend a sincere thank you to Mr. Vinik, Julien, Steve Griggs, the rest of the coaching staff and all the players for making this one of the best jobs in the NHL.”

The Lightning begin the season against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; ESPN, ESPN+, SN, TVAS).

Cooper has been the Lightning’s coach since March 25, 2013. He is the longest tenured coach in the League.The Lightning are 383-197-53 in 633 games during Cooper’s eight-plus seasons as coach. His .647 points percentage as coach is second in NHL history (minimum 500 games coached) behind Scotty Bowman’s .657 in 2,141 games.

Tampa Bay’s 383 wins are the most in the League since Cooper took over as coach. The Lightning also lead the League with 2,019 goals in that span.

“Unequivocally, ‘Coop’ is the best person for the job,” Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois said. “He is a great leader, spokesperson and ambassador for our organization. We are lucky to have him as our head coach and I very much look forward to our continued partnership.”

The Lightning have reached the Stanley Cup Final three times under Cooper. They won in five games against the Montreal Canadiens last season and in six games against the Dallas Stars in 2020. They lost in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks in 2015 Cup Final.

They also reached the Eastern Conference Final in 2016 and 2018, losing each in seven games to the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals, respectively.

Cooper was a finalist for the Jack Adams Award voted as the top coach in the NHL in 2013-14 and 2018-19.

He was named the coach for Canada’s men’s ice hockey team at the 2022 Beijing Olympics on Aug. 9.

Prior to his arrival in Tampa Bay, Cooper spent three seasons coaching the Lightning’s American Hockey League affiliates, going 133-62-26 in 221 games with Norfolk (2010-12) and Syracuse (2012-13).

He led Norfolk to the Calder Cup as AHL champion in 2011-12, when he also won the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the top coach in the AHL. Norfolk set a North American professional sports record with a 28-game winning streak that season.

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