TAMPA — Lightning coach Jon Cooper has been named an assistant for Team North America for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
The news had been expected but was made official Friday, with Cooper joining a staff led by Oilers coach Todd McLellan. The other assistants are Sharks coach Peter DeBoer, Coyotes coach Dave Tippett and Oilers assistant Jay Woodcroft.
The team will be made up only of top stars from the United States and Canada who are 23 and younger. Candidates include Sabres center Jack Eichel, Oilers center Connor McDavid, Predators defenseman Seth Jones and Lightning wing Jonathan Drouin.
"It is a privilege to have the opportunity to work with such a talented coaching and managerial staff at such a prestigious event," Cooper said in a statement. "I am really excited to help coach the futures stars of the NHL and try and win a World Cup."
The eight-team tournament is Sept. 17-Oct. 1 in Toronto, which means Cooper will likely miss some of training camp. The other teams will represent the United States, Canada — both those teams will have players 24 and older — the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Sweden and Europe (players not from countries with teams).
Cooper is the lone North American coach with U.S. ties. He is a dual citizen born in British Columbia and has coached with USA Hockey. Lightning assistant general manager Pat Verbeek was previously named co-director of player personnel for North America.
Lightning candidates to play include Steven Stamkos (Canada), and Tyler Johnson, Ben Bishop and Ryan Callahan (United States).