Cooper, Sullivan, Laviolette in consideration for Olympic coaching jobs

Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper talks with his players in the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Nashville Predators Saturday, April 10, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. Tampa Bay won 3-0. (Mark Humphrey/AP)

With the 2022 Winter Olympics fast approaching, organizations like Hockey Canada are starting to make preparations for the teams they will send to represent the country.

Assuming a deal is worked out to send NHL players back to the Games, roster decisions will be made in the coming months. Another decision that has to be made is who will coach these countries to possible podium finishes.

"Canada and the U.S. are starting to look through and figure out who their top candidates are," Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman said during Saturday's Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada.

"I think Canada has had some conversations about Jon Cooper," Friedman said.

The longest tenured coach in the NHL, Cooper led the Tampa Bay Lightning to their Stanley Cup victory last season. Cooper was previously head coach of Team Canada at the 2017 IIHF World Championship tournament and served as an assistant coach of Team North America at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

One of the contenders for the United States was coaching in Saturday's game between the Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins: Peter Laviolette.

This is Laviolette's first season coaching the Washington Capitals. The 56-year-old is the fourth coach in NHL history to lead three teams to the Stanley Cup Final.

He was named head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team for the 2020 IIHF Men’s World Championship that was later cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He was also the assistant coach for the 2014 Sochi Olympics and head coach of the 2006 Torino Olympics.

Friedman said the other top candidate for Team USA is Mike Sullivan.

The 53-year-old has been the bench boss of the Pittsburgh Penguins since 2015, leading the team to back-to-back Stanley Cup victories. Sullivan served as an assistant coach for Team USA in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey and has been involved with USA Hockey in multiple capacities for parts of the last four decades.

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