NORFOLK, VA. — Jon Cooper and Shawn Thornton have been elected to the Admirals Hall of Fame, the Norfolk Admirals Professional Hockey Club announced today. Their induction ceremony will occur at this Saturday’s Norfolk Admirals game against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits at 7:30 pm at the Norfolk Scope Arena.
“It is awesome to see Jon and Shawn get inducted into the Admirals Hall of Fame,” said Admirals Head Coach and Hall of Fame member Rod Taylor. “Those two have done so much for our organization and this fanbase. They are super excited to be inducted and it’s very well deserved.”
Cooper, currently the head coach of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, becomes the third coach to join the Admirals Hall of Fame alongside John Brophy and Al MacIsaac.
Cooper has asserted himself as one of the greatest coaches to ever work behind the bench. His long list of accomplishments includes a history-making stop with the Admirals.
He began his coaching career in 1999 at Lansing Catholic Central High School in Michigan. He became a three-time Coach of the Year in the North American Hockey League (NAHL) while winning two Robertson Cups with the St. Louis Bandits. Cooper won a Clark Cup with the Green Bay Gamblers at the next level in the United States Hockey League (USHL). He was named head coach of the Norfolk Admirals in 2011.
Cooper is responsible for leading one of the greatest hockey teams in history as the Admirals won a record 28-straight games in 2011-12. It didn’t stop there; the Admirals went on to win the Calder Cup that same season.
Cooper was eventually named the head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2012-13. Since then, he has coached two All-Star Games and won two Stanley Cups, which were back-to-back titles in 2019-20 and 2020-21.
Thornton, currently the Chief Commercial Officer for the NHL’s Florida Panthers, was regarded as one of the biggest fan favorites ever to wear the Admirals crest. He was known for his physical style of play and was never afraid to engage in a fight with someone not wearing an Admirals jersey on the ice. He is the 15th player inducted into the prodigious club.
Thornton began his professional hockey career in 1997 with the St. John’s Maple Leafs in the American Hockey League. After four seasons in St. John’s, Thornton found his way to the Admirals in 2001. In his first season in Norfolk, he played 70 games and registered 281 penalty minutes. He would spend four more seasons in Hampton Roads, splitting time with the Admirals and Chicago Blackhawks. Thornton was an assistant captain for the Admirals in 2003-04, and his brash, physical style of play will always be ingrained into the Admirals community forever.
He is the all-time penalty minutes leader in Admirals’ history (1,208). Thornton went on to enjoy a 15-year playing career in the National Hockey League after his tenure with the Admirals. He suited up with Chicago, the Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, and Florida Panthers. He won two Stanley Cups in his career with the Ducks and Bruins.
Here is a full list of those inducted into the Admirals Hall of Fame:
Class of 2008
Class of 2009
Class of 2010
Class of 2011
Class of 2012
Class of 2013
Class of 2014
Class of 2015
Class of 2016
Class of 2017
Class of 2022
Join the Admirals on Saturday, April 16 at Norfolk Scope Arena as Cooper and Thornton will officially be inducted into the Admirals Hall of Fame. Doors open at 6:30 pm. CLICK HERE to secure your seats.