Former Lansing Catholic Hockey Coach Jon Cooper Wins Second Stanley Cup in a Row
Who would have thought when the Tampa Bay Lightning head coach, Jon Cooper, won a Stanley Cup last year he would repeat? Well, he did, which has got me thinking about his connection to Lansing and the Mad Dog Show. I know this story has been told before, but it’s a great story.
Years ago a friend of mine, Joey Campbell, who played hockey at MSU called me up. He said he had a friend who could come on my Mad Dog Show and talk hockey every week. I said what the heck, sure, I’ll bring him in.
Now, I had never met this fella. So I call him and he says his name is Jon Cooper. "Coop" started doing the show weekly for months. We became friends and he brought solid hockey content to the program.
Jon Cooper was on my show for months, and he was also a lawyer. His story is a Horatio Alger story.
Jon Cooper began his career in Lansing coaching my alma mater’s hockey team: the Lansing Catholic Cougars. He had to be talked into taking the job by former Judge Tom Brennan Jr.
Then Cooper went on to coach the local junior hockey team, the Capital Centre Pride. Throughout all of that, he kept doing the show weekly with me.
Later on, he called me and said he was moving out of the Lansing area, and that was that. To this day I have never spoken with him again. We had built a solid rapport, though.
Years later I’m getting ready to watch the Red Wings on television. The broadcaster is talking about the new Lightning head coach and he says his name. The broadcaster says Jon Cooper, and I was looking away at the time not thinking it was Coop. Eventually, I looked at the screen and it was him. I couldn’t believe it! It was him.
I asked former head coach and NHL analyst Barry Melrose who comes on my show how did Cooper get with the Lightning. He said he had gone to the minors and won consistently. Hall of Fame Red Wing Steve Yzerman, who was G.M. of the Lightning at that time, spotted him and hired him.
Who would have thought Jon Cooper would go from Lansing Catholic hockey to back-to-back NHL Stanley Cups. Only in America. Unbelievable! Congratulations to Coop, great job!