The Tampa Bay Lightning named Jon Cooper as their new head today. Cooper was the head coach of Tampa Bay’s top minor league affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL.
Cooper will be behind the bench for the first time as an NHL head coach on Friday night when the Lightning host the New Jersey Devils. Syracuse assistant Rob Zettler takes over as the head coach of the Crunch while Martin Raymond will join Zettler as an assistant. Dan Lacroix and Steve Thomas will remain with the Lightning for tomorrow’s game against the Buffalo Sabres, and will continue in their current posts for the rest of the season.
“We are very pleased to introduce Jon as our head coach today,” Lightning Vice President and General Manager Yzerman said. “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.”
“There is no other team in hockey that I would rather be coaching than the Tampa Bay Lightning,” said Cooper after he accepted the job. “It’s quite a tribute to Steve Yzerman and Jeff Vinik and the organization they are building that are proud to promote from within. I look forward to getting to know the players and getting to work right away.”