Jon Cooper Opens Up About Devastation of No Olympics

Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper is coming off back-to-back Stanley Cups. His resume is full of championships and in 2022 he was given the chance to land an Olympic medal for his nation of Canada, that was until the NHL decided to pull out of the games. 

The decision was understandably devastating for Cooper and he recently spoke with The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun to open up about his feelings:

To be honest, it was devastating. I would be remiss if I didn’t use such a strong word. I look at the sport of hockey, the country of Canada, and the marriage the two have and the passion the country has for it. The thrill of being named to that position. It didn’t sit lightly with me. I was genuinely humbled and honored to have that opportunity. And then to have it swept out from under you, it … it just leaves you empty.

Who knows where anybody is going to be in four years. It's the Olympic experience, it's being in the village, it is getting to wear your country's colors with pride. It’s being able to go to other athletes' events and cheering them on. It’s being able to go in the cafeteria and having the bobsledder come up to Sidney Crosby and ask for an autograph. And for Sidney Crosby to ask for an autograph back from that person. That’s the bond that the Olympics bring to you. I feel bad for the players because they’re going to miss out on that. Being part of the Olympic spirit, that’s what it’s all about.

You have to feel for Cooper who was the perfect man for the job. He'd already begun discussing roles on the team with the likes of Crosby, Drew Doughty, Tom Wilson, and Cale Makar, among others. He'll now shift his focus back to solely the Lightning and try to three-peat as Stanley Cup champions. A decent potential consolation prize to Olympic gold.

Photo credit:  Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports