Dallas Stars Fire Head Coach Jim Montgomery Over Unprofessional Conduct

Jim Montgomery

The Dallas Stars announced Tuesday morning the firing of head coach Jim Montgomery. Dallas is promoting assistant coach Rick Bowness to head coach on an interim basis.

Jim Montgomery Fired

In a statement released by the general manager Jim Nill, he cited “unprofessional conduct” as the reason Montgomery was let go not team performance.

“The Dallas Stars expect all of our employees to act with integrity and exhibit professional behaviour while working for and representing our organization,” Stars general manager Jim Nill said in a statement. “This decision was made due to unprofessional conduct inconsistent with the core values and beliefs of the Dallas Stars and the National Hockey League.” 

Montgomery was in his second season as head coach of the Stars. He had a record of 60-43-10 as the bench boss of the Stars. Currently, the Stars sit in the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference with a 17-11-3 record. Last season, Montgomery’s first as head coach in the NHL, the Stars posted a 43-27-7 record. They reached the second-round of the playoffs losing the St. Louis Blues in seven games. Montgomery had two years remaining on his contract with the Stars.

Prior to joining the Stars, Montgomery spent five seasons as head coach at the University of Denver. There he guided the Pioneers to the 2017 National Championship.

Rick Bowness Named Interim Head Coach

In addition, the Stars announced that assistant coach Rick Bowness will take over the head coaching duties on an interim basis. The Stars also announced that the AHL Texas Stars head coach Derek Laxdal will be added to Bowness’s staff as an assistant coach. Taking over Laxdal’s role with Texas is assistant coach Neil Graham.

Bowness served as a head coach for five teams from 1988-2004 including the Winnipeg Jets, Boston Bruins, Ottawa Senators, New York Islanders, and Phoenix Coyotes. Bowness also served as an assistant for the Tampa Bay Lightning and Vancouver Canucks. His most successful stint as a head coach came during a four-year run with the Senators. Bowness has a career record of 123-289-48-3.

What The Future Brings

The hockey culture is changing. The professional conduct of NHL coaches has made its way in the spotlight over the recent weeks. It started with the firing of Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock. This led to former players speaking out about the way Babcock treated them.

After that former NHL player Akim Aliu tweeted about his former coach and then Calgary Flames head coach Bill Peters. Aliu stated Peters used racial remarks towards him during the 2008-09 season. This led to the Peters resigning as head coach.  In addition, when Peters was the head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes, accusations were made and backed by current head coach Rod Brind’Amour.

On Monday at the Board of Governors meeting, the NHL rolled out a new four-point plan of action for abusive behaviour. According to Pierre LeBrun of TSN, the Montgomery firing had nothing to do with the new plan and the league was aware of it.

The Stars are in action Tuesday night as the New Jersey Devils come calling.

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