Jon Cooper named head coach of Canada's Olympic team

TAMPA, FL - JULY 7: Head Coach Jon Cooper of the Tampa Bay Lightning hoists the Stanley Cup overhead after the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Montreal Canadiens in Game Five to win the best of seven game series 4-1 during the Stanley Cup Final of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on July 7, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)
Jon Cooper previously coached Team Canada at the 2017 world hockey champioships. (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Hockey Canada will hand the keys to Jon Cooper in search of a third consecutive Olympic gold medal (with NHL involvement, of course).

The Tampa Bay Lightning boss was officially named the head coach of Canada's men's Olympic team at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing on Monday. He will be supported by a collection of some of the best coaches in the NHL and counterparts he has plenty of experience coaching against, including Barry Trotz of the New York Islanders, Bruce Cassidy of the Boston Bruins and Pete DeBoer of the Vegas Golden Knights.

Per the announcement, their participation does hinge on NHL players participating at the Winter Games.

Cooper, Trotz, Cassidy and DeBoer join the Hockey Canada braintrust which already includes general manager Doug Armstrong, as well as Ken Holland, Ron Francis and Roberto Luongo. That group is tasked with making the difficult roster decisions.

Cooper has coached the senior men's team previously, but Beijing will mark his Olympic debut. His last experience with Hockey Canada came in 2017 at the world hockey championships in Germany and France, where the Canadians lost in the championship game versus Sweden.

He takes over Olympic responsibilities from Mike Babcock, who led Canada to back-to-back gold medals in Vancouver and Sochi. NHLers were not involved in 2018 when athletes from Russia captured gold.

Cooper has captured unparalleled success in the last few seasons with the Lightning. The longest-tenured coach in the league, Cooper is coming of back-to-back Stanley Cup wins and coached more postseason games than any coach over the last six years.

It's likely that Cooper will coach at least one of his own players in Beijing, with Brayden Point expected to make the team and Steven Stamkos being an option for Armstrong as well.

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