NHL’s Lightning Hire Jon Cooper as Coach to Replace Boucher

Jon Cooper was hired as coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning after three seasons leading the National Hockey League team’s top minor league affiliate.

Cooper, 45, replaces Guy Boucher, who was fired two days ago with the Lightning in next-to-last place in the NHL’s Eastern Conference. Cooper had a 133-62-26 record in the American Hockey League with the Norfolk Admirals from 2010-12 and the Syracuse Crunch this season.

“He has had success at every level he has coached and is extremely familiar with our organization, as well as our players,” Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman said in a statement. “He has a tremendous record at all levels and we feel he is ready to make the move to the NHL.”

Cooper was named the AHL’s top coach last season after leading the Admirals to the Calder Cup Championship. This season, he’s led the Crunch to an AHL-best 39-18-8 record.

The Lightning have a 13-18-1 record this season for 27 points, the third-fewest in the NHL. Cooper will coach his first game with Tampa Bay on March 29 against the New Jersey Devils.

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