TAMPA — Jon Cooper signed a three-year contract extension Monday to remain coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning through at least the 2024-25 season.
“To be honest, in this organization [contract negotiations] really never ever becomes an issue,” Cooper said. “It’s kind of like a family atmosphere and lots of open lines of communication before anything happens. So this was talked about probably four days after we hoisted the Stanley Cup. We got into the nitty gritty part when we started to come to training camp but for me it wasn’t about my contract, it was making sure of the whole staff and we’re all in this together. I didn’t want any of this to be announced or to be done yet until everybody was looked after and that looks likes its happened.
“I’m just excited to be a part of this organization for a few more years and just continue to build on this standard we’ve set. It’s the greatest place to work. I think enough has been said about (owner) Jeff Vinik and how fabulous he is and the relationship (general manager) Julien [BriseBois] and I have had for a number of years now. Tampa is my home and so it’s great to be able to be back, to be able to be here for a few more years.”
The Lightning begin the season against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; ESPN, ESPN+, SN, TVAS).
Cooper has been the Lightning’s coach since March 25, 2013 and is the longest tenured coach in the NHL .Tampa Bay is 383-197-53 in 633 games during Cooper’s eight-plus seasons as coach. His .647 points percentage 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 NHL 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,” 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.
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 league. Norfolk set a North American professional sports record with a 28-game winning streak that season.