Jon Cooper will coach Canada’s men’s team at 2022 Olympics

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Jon Cooper will lead Canada’s men’s team at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Hockey Canada has announced.

The Lightning head coach will be joined by assistants Barry Trotz (Islanders), Peter DeBoer (Golden Knights), and Bruce Cassidy (Bruins). Doug Armstrong of the Blues will serve as general manager.

The 2022 Winter Olympics will take place from Feb. 4-20, 2022 in Beijing, China.

“We are very excited to introduce the members of Canada’s coaching staff for the 2022 Winter Olympics, as each individual brings a tremendous amount of experience that will benefit our team if NHL players are able to participate in Beijing,” said Hockey Canada CEO Tom Renney in a statement. “Under the leadership of Stanley Cup champion Jon Cooper, and with the contributions of this very skilled coaching staff, we are thrilled to have them lead us at the Olympics and represent our country with pride as they build a team that will compete for a gold medal.”

Still waiting for an answer

The key word in Renney’s statement is the “if.” There remains no agreement between the NHL, IOC and IIHF to send players to Beijing. Talks are on-going, and might just pick up now that the Tokyo Games have concluded.

The NHL released its 2021-22 schedule last month with a February Olympic break built in, but also with the note that adjustments will be made if an agreement is not worked out. Commissioner Gary Bettman said during the Stanley Cup Final that the resolution date the league had in mind had already past, but they are committed to working out a deal after agreeing to do so for the NHLPA during last summer’s Collective Bargaining Agreement talks.

Talks continuing into August is encouraging, but the continued worry about the COVID-19 pandemic is another reason why the league remains against such a deal. But a promise was made to the union and the NHL is doing what they can to make it a reality.

2022 Olympic men’s tournament groups

Group A: Canada (1), USA (6), Germany (7), China (12)
Group B: Russia (2), Czech Republic (5), Switzerland (8), Qualifier 3 (11)
Group C: Finland (3), Sweden (4), Qualifier 1 (9), Qualifier 2 (10)

The final three qualifier spots (winner from each group) are still scheduled to be decided in late August.

Group D: Slovakia (host), Belarus, Austria, Poland
Group E: Latvia (host), France, Italy, Hungary
Group F: Norway (host), Denmark, Korea, Slovenia

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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