Former University of Maine All-American and Hobey Baker Award finalist Jim Montgomery, who was fired as the head coach of the National Hockey League’s Dallas Stars on Dec. 10 for “unprofessional conduct,” is going to enter an inpatient residential program for alcohol abuse, according to the Dallas Morning News.
On Friday, Montgomery provided a written statement to the Morning News in which he said the Stars made the “appropriate call” in firing him.
“Losing my job last month was a wake-up call,” Montgomery said. “I let the team’s front office, staff and players down. More importantly, I let my wife and family down.
“The team’s decision to end my role forced me to look into the mirror and decide whether I wanted to continue living a damaging lifestyle or get help. I decided to get help. I turned to professionals in the field of alcohol abuse for their guidance and counseling,” Montgomery said.
The 50-year-old Montgomery and wife Emily have four children under the age of 10.
“Today, with the unconditional support of my wife and family and many close friends, I took another step forward by admitting myself into an inpatient residential program where I intend to take steps to be a better husband, father, friend, coach and mentor — one day at a time. It’s a process I am committed to,” he said. “It has been an overwhelming and a very humbling experience knowing that I am not alone.”
Stars general manager Jim Nill provided a statement to the Dallas Morning News on Friday in which he expressed his and the organization’s support of Montgomery’s decision.
“We hope that by pursuing this help, he and his family will be stronger for it,” Nill said.
At the time of Montgomery’s firing, Nill told the Associated Press that it was a tough decision to terminate Montgomery but it was necessary because he had acted “inconsistently with core values and the beliefs of the Dallas Stars and the National Hockey League.
“I have a lot of respect for Jim Montgomery. He’s a very good coach,” Nill said at the time.
The Dallas Morning News story pointed out that Montgomery has been attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. He had been previously arrested and charged with driving under the influence in Collier County, Florida, in 2008.
Montgomery captained UMaine to its first NCAA championship during the 1992-1993 season. He scored three third-period goals in the national championship game to rally UMaine from a 4-2 deficit to a 5-4 win over Lake Superior State.
He is UMaine’s career leader in points with 301 and has had his No. 19 retired by the school. He is a member of the University of Maine Sports Hall of Fame.
Montgomery played in 122 NHL games. After retiring as a player, he moved into coaching and has been successful.
He won two Clark Cups in the United States Junior Hockey League with Dubuque, where he was the general manager and the coach. The Clark Cup is awarded to the league playoff champion.
Montgomery compiled a record of 118-45-21 with Dubuque and earned a General Manager of the Year Award before becoming the head coach at the University of Denver. There, his teams went 127-57-26 in five seasons and won a national championship in 2017.
In his 1 1/2 years with the Stars, Dallas went 60-43-10 and he led the team to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Dallas lost in double overtime in Game 7 to eventual Stanley Cup champion St. Louis.
During his 113 games with Dallas, the Stars allowed 2.42 goals per game which was the second-fewest in the league.