The NHL world was stunned early Tuesday when the Dallas Stars announced they fired coach Jim Montgomery “due to unprofessional conduct.”
The team did not disclose the exact reason for his dismissal, only that there is no criminal investigation and no current or former players were connected to the decision.
Montgomery spent six seasons as the head coach at DU (2013-‘18), winning a national title (’17) prior to being hired by Dallas in May of 2018. The Stars reached the second round of the NHL postseason last year. Montgomery finished with a 60-43-10 record with the team.
“I don’t know what to think,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “I met Jim here a couple of times, but I didn’t know him previously coming to Denver.”
The decision comes one day after NHL commissioner Gary Bettman introduced a new “zero-tolerance” policy for teams to self-report personnel issues and mandatory training for players/coaches on anti-racism and bullying initiatives — in light of allegations that led to the firing of Flames coach Bill Peters and Blackhawks assistant coach Marc Crawford.
“This is the best league in the world,” Avs forward Nazem Kadri said. “It’s nice that the commissioner feels the same way. We’re all looking out for each other in here. Across my career, I haven’t really crossed paths with anything crazy like that, which I’m thankful for. We’re more worried about this dressing room, and in here, it couldn’t be better.”
Added Bednar: “From our side of it, I love what Joe (Sakic) has done here trying to make it a family atmosphere. … We try to be as tight as we possibly can as a group and it’s been working. There is an open-door policy to Joe, myself and everyone else in the organization. We like to keep it that way.”