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Lightning name Cooper team's new head coach

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TSN.ca Staff
3/26/2013 12:22:52 AM
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The Tampa Bay Lightning have named Jon Cooper the franchise's eighth head coach.

The news comes two days after general manager Steve Yzerman announced Guy Boucher was fired as coach.

"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."

Cooper will coach his first game for the Lightning on Friday versus the New Jersey Devils.

The 45-year-old 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.

Cooper was the AHL's Coach of the Year last season and led the Admirals to the Calder Cup. He also won a championship in the United States Hockey League in 2010.

"There is no other team in hockey that I would rather be coaching than the Tampa Bay Lightning," said Cooper. "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."

Assistant coach Rob Zettler will to take over head coaching duties with the Crunch, while Martin Raymond will join Zettler as an assistant.

The Lightning's assistants, Martin Raymond and Dan Lacroix, ran the team Sunday night in Winnipeg in the Lightning's 3-2 loss to the Jets. They will remain behind the bench for Tuesday's game against the Buffalo Sabres, then continuing as Cooper's assistants with the Lightning.

Jon Cooper (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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