Lightning's Jon Cooper to coach Canada at the 2026 Olympics

CALGARY, Alberta -- Jon Cooper has been named Canada's coach for upcoming international play, including the 2026 Olympics in Milan.

Hockey Canada announced Tuesday the two-time Stanley Cup-winning coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning also will be behind the bench for the NHL's Four Nations Face-Off in February, a prep tournament of sorts for the Olympics.

Cooper, who is from Prince George, British Columbia, was selected to coach Canada at the 2022 Olympics before pandemic-related scheduling issues caused the league to cancel plans to send players to Beijing to participate.

He recently completed his 12th season with Tampa Bay and is the longest-tenured coach in the NHL. The Lightning went back to back in 2020 and '21 and reached the final two other times with Cooper in charge.

"Jon is a world-class person, coach and leader, and his impressive resume and success in the NHL make him the perfect person to lead Team Canada over the next two years," Canada general manager Doug Armstrong said in a statement. "Our management group knows that Jon will represent our country with pride while bringing his winning pedigree to the international stage, and we look forward to working with him as we build teams with the best NHL players in Canada at two marquee events."

Milan will be the first chance for NHL players to take part in the Olympics since 2014 in Sochi. The Four Nations Face-Off includes teams from the U.S., Canada, Sweden and Finland, a scaled-down event from a World Cup of Hockey that Commissioner Gary Bettman hopes will serve as an appetizer for the Games in Italy a year later.

USA Hockey picked Mike Sullivan, also a two-time Cup winner from his tenure with the Pittsburgh Penguins, to coach the team in these two tournaments.