Canucks hire gold medal-winning video coach, Ben Cooper [Report]

It appeared that the Canucks were done making moves this off-season and that does seem to be the case in terms of what we’ll see on the ice, with Trevor Linden confirming that the current roster is what we’ll see when training camp rolls around. But the team has reportedly made one more change behind the scenes.

According to a report from Gregg Drinnan, the Canucks have hired Ben Cooper as their new video coach, a rather thankless job that involves endlessly watching and breaking down video from Canucks games and those of their opponents.

It’s not a position that fans tend to think about too much, as the video coach doesn’t appear on the bench or get interviewed by the media, but it’s a vital role for analyzing a team’s trends, pinpointing areas where a player needs to improve, and scouting tactics of upcoming opponents. Video coaches will also often watch live from the press box and do analysis in real time, communicating with the coaches on the bench.

If Drinnan’s source is accurate, Cooper will be the youngest coach on the Canucks staff at 36, but he does come with at least one impressive line on his resume: he was the video coach for the gold-medal winning 2010 Canadian Olympic team.

Cooper is actually a Vancouver native, and has actually worked for the Canucks before, albeit in a ticket sales and media relations role. He got his start as a video coach, however, in Toronto with the Marlies, which led to the job with Hockey Canada. That job included working with the national junior teams, world championship teams, the U-18 Ivan Hlinka tournament teams, and, of course, the Olympic team. That gave him the opportunity to work closely with Mike Babcock, Jacques Lemaire, Lindy Ruff, and Ken Hitchcock.

While young, he certainly doesn’t lack in confidence, saying at the time, “I can say without a doubt, especially having spoken to the video coaches of Team USA and Team Sweden, that Team Canada was by far the most prepared team in the tournament.”

Cooper turned that experience into other coaching opportunities, taking an assistant coach job with the Victoria Royals in the WHL for two seasons from 2011 to 2013, then working as a head coach for the Varsity team at the Okanagan Hockey Academy. Back in May, he took a job as head coach of the Burnaby Winter Club’s U-18 Prep team, but a chance to work with his hometown team likely takes precedence.

He did a fascinating interview with The Coaches Site, where he talks about his journey as a coach and the advancements in video technology.

What this means for long-time video coach Darryl Williams is unclear. It’s doubtful that the Canucks would have two video coaches in their coaching staff. Williams has been with the Canucks since 2008 and survived the transition from Alain Vigneault to John Tortorella.

12 comments

  1. Thomas Shipley
    July 31, 2014

    It relieves me greatly to hear Linden say that they’re done making roster moves, because I’ve heard a rumour floating around saying talks were underway which would see Benning ship out Burrows, Shinkaruk, Markstrom, and a 1st rounder to the Jets for Kane. That would be very sad face

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    • peanutflower
      July 31, 2014

      no!

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    • Matt
      July 31, 2014

      I doubt that’ll happen, but I think I’d make that move.

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    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      July 31, 2014

      That rumour sounds like it came from out of Hfboards’ ass.

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    • Doop
      July 31, 2014

      Evander Kane is better than all of those things mate

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  2. A Wellwood
    July 31, 2014

    Fun fact: as a child, Ben appeared on Coaches Corner and accurately predicted the outcome of a game. Don Cherry’s response? “Who gives a **** about Benji Cooper?!”

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    • palefire
      August 3, 2014

      Oh, hey, he went by Benji Cooper as a kid? Then I think I went to high school with him.

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    • BMo
      August 8, 2014

      That’s right. He was also the kid who got on the ice with a home-made Stanley Cup during the Cup run in ’94. I can’t remember which game. Anyway, Benji was holding up the cup, and the fans were loving it. He then passed it to Bure who held it up. Apparently, Linden was yelling to Bure not to hold it up.

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  3. Chrìs
    August 1, 2014

    All the Canuck coaches should be required to have amazing moustaches for the season.

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    • zach
      August 1, 2014

      At first glance I kind of thought in the top picture he looks like Max Talbot. Either way that handlebar moustache is a thing of beauty.

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      • jenny wren
        August 1, 2014

        A “handlebar” it sure is not
        A “fu manchu” is what he’s got

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  4. Chris the Curmudgeon
    August 2, 2014

    Actually it’s neither. That’s a horseshoe mustache.

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