From Public Defender To Stanley Cup Champion

The Lead


So joe for those who might not follow the nhl super closely. Can you just give us a sense of what jon cooper has accomplished during his as a coach in the nhl. Definitely jon cooper is the longest tenured coach shell. He's on an eight th anniversary of his hiring on this week. The winningest coach in franchise history for the lightning. And i think he's highly regarded as one of the better coaches in the league and probably a candidate coach team. Canada at the next olympics are positions and olympics for the trump player so deadly highly regarded coach but up until this past season. He hasn't won the big one and that was kind of the big question surrounding it. And how would you describe his personality. Well he's a players go. She's a really fun personality. Like you quotes wedding crashers. Upper seventy six. No excuses public champion. You uses a champion. The only person you have to answer to when you go home at night is really yourself. The national media loves him because he is a great world this charismatic. You're going to get knocked down. There's no question people are going to push down. Because ultimately they want to see it fail if you think maybe teams on trips to like field of dreams when he was in earlier years coaching. He's all about the different sides and binding guys together on the ice and that if you get is connected as a group and the for each other and very process over outcome kind of guy and so you definitely has that charisma that makes them unique. I think the players like that. We'll show you recently. Wrote about how jon cooper has followed perhaps the most unconventional path of any stanley cup winning coach. So take us back to the late. Nineteen ninety s. What was john. Cooper's lifelike at that time he was living in a condo east lansing area couple remains but he was just trying to figure out where you wanted to be in his life. What he wanted to do for work. He was good ball. Charismatic lawyer but his heart wasn't in it always always wondering when is the fulfillment. When are you going to sit there and wake up every day and say. I can't wait to go do what i'm gonna do. He was defender district court in lansing michigan about a thousand dollars a month. You know we're going for indigent clients. He was working on. du is having divorces. You've got a two person law. Office him in a paralegal. He's still didn't know i guess. Were taken at that point. And you got in touch with the judge. Who worked with jon cooper back. Then what did he say about cooper skills in the courtroom and you just notice and how clients clients listen to prosecutors respected him i think is the kind of ability that transcends coaching the ability to persuade players to adopt your system or just believe the approach. So you know. He's he's a good salesman. He always says convincing players. Convincing a jury and i don't think he knew then that it would be kind of the key to him. Maybe starting coaching career. So how did jon cooper go from being this lowly paid lawyer and a former lacrosse player. Who had only played a year of club hockey in college to being high school hockey coach. Well the run in his son playful lansing catholic high school and they needed a coach and so he knew of john skills on the ice and new of his charisma and then he is asked to one day in the building. I saw the coach. would you be interested. He looks at me and goes. Dc the stack of resumes. I have he says. I'll tell you one thing you coach kids high school hockey team and i will take your resume from here. We put it here. Just this exactly. That was his first kind of foray into coaching hockey. Was nine thousand nine hundred nine hundred thousand lansing catholic cougars hockey team and that was seventeen. You actually talked to some of the players on that lansing catholic team. What did they tell you about jon. Cooper the high school coach. I think what's interesting knees. They remember the first meeting in the cafeteria where he's using himself to like twenty kids and parents and those us have just nervous as they were and are waiting to hear whereas the hockey background. Who did he coach before. Because one of the red wings was he part of this huge talk about law school in wall street and this guy another guys were in the nhl players. Even highly college players inducted himself would be anywhere high in coaching world. A reflection of guys play together. I think they'll be the first ones to tell you. None of them really on the track to make the national hockey league but they were such a joy to be around the competed their butts off just line. Who an awkward gesture. The of funny kid and team talked about like there was a hill just a mile from the school that the workouts outside the big hill. The he must've just saw he was driving around and he made us run up this hill with do bear calls and stuff. That is the source. I've ever been my life like. I could not long like off chris. Monrovia now works the red wings. Illitch family talked about how they had this practice where they had no on the ice and they're doing push ups and sit ups and kristin ross. Who served in the military students in afghanistan he goes. I went through the army for seven years. And i went through a lot of work out a lot of hellish days. Afghans dead. That's one of those days that i think back much. It's not as bad as back. And what else did you learn about his coaching philosophy back. Then you know like what were the things that were important to him that he really emphasized to the team. Making guys feel connected or part of it no matter if you were the best player on this team or like the thirteenth forward and i think jeff swan is appropriate examples. Like i wasn't the most natural coordinated like county out now who put me not aligned with the two players. Mike sack out with the most gifted athlete. That are high school in you. The team is better holding. Some of its part. They wanted them to play. Have have meaning and swan. Storing the biggest fools that season the most for player that year. So you know. He's told everyone the most improved player really halls like a special place for him. Something he takes lightly. It was a really really nice compliment. They talked about the hard hat that they gave out. After every win which was an all white instruction half that was something that the player of the game whether at block shot or a big hit or in ceremony the post game. We'll get this production. How they put their name and a sharpie but it was more of a. What did you do to help the team. Really recognizing layers who maybe didn't shop scores sheep but who are just dedicated themselves to helping the team. These success those are moments that came together that they remember forever and become an integral part of their story on a way to winning out like the championship. Well this sort of ragtag bunch of guys did win an unlikely state regional championship in almost mighty ducks kind of way and joe as you talks to all these guys who played for jon. Cooper what connections. Were you able to make between cooper the coach of the lansing catholic cougars and cooper the coach of the stanley. Cup champion tampa bay. Lightning guesswork me. Talking to guys. That new men who've now that he hasn't changed much in terms of his personality he had kind of style which coach's house you through professional level versus coaching. high school. Kids a lot of the same kind of tenants but he had then he still uses today. Kerry that floss with me all the way through the nhl in onto the honestly. It doesn't really change. Human beings are human beings and everybody needs to be motivated. It's just finding the right way to motivate. Rose stood up in my living room and watch the game and cheer tampa. You're welcome. you're welcome for started. His rise

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