Originally written on The Bay Cave  |  Last updated 3/25/13

After several reports, the Tampa Bay Lightning make it official by naming Jon Cooper the eighth head coach in franchise history.  Cooper joins the Lightning after having spent the previous three seasons behind the bench of Tampa Bay’s top minor league affiliate, the Norfolk Admirals from 2010-12 and this season with the Syracuse Crunch, compiling a 133-62-26 (.661) record in 221 AHL games. Cooper will coach his first game for the Lightning on Friday night versus the New Jersey Devils. From the team’s press release: “We are very pleased to introduce Jon as our head coach today,” 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 upon accepting the position. “It’s quite a tribute to Steve Yzerman, Jeff Vinik and the organization they are building that they are proud to promote from within. I look forward to getting to know the players and getting to work right away.” Cooper, 45, was awarded the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL’s top coach last season after guiding the Admirals to the Calder Cup Championship. He led Norfolk to a 94-44-18 record in the regular season and a 17-7 mark in the playoffs during two seasons behind the bench.  In 2011-12 the Cooper-led Admirals set franchise records with 55 wins and 113 points en route to the franchise’s first Calder Cup Championship. This season Cooper has led the Crunch to a 39-18-8 record, the best in the AHL, despite a number of key players being recalled to the Lightning.  Syracuse’s 218 goals are also the most in the league.  Of the Bolts’ current roster, 10 players have played for the Crunch this season, already giving Cooper familiarity with a number of players.  Cooper has also run the Lightning’s development camps during his time in the organization   The post Lightning announce they’ve hired Jon Cooper as coach appeared first on The Bay Cave.

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