Stars fire head coach Jim Montgomery ‘due to unprofessional conduct’
The Dallas Stars made a stunning announcement on Tuesday by firing head coach Jim Montgomery “due to unprofessional conduct.”
Here’s the statement from Stars general manager Jim Nill:
Nill said during a Tuesday morning press conference that the reason behind the firing was not related to the abuse allegations issues that have come up in hockey and was not in reaction to the four-point plan announced by the NHL during the Board of Governors meeting on Monday. He also added that no current or former Stars players or employees were involved in the “act of unprofessionalism.”
“We approve [of] the NHL in creating this four-point initiative, their plan, but this decision was made before that initiative came out,” said Nill, who noted he had been in contact with the league. “There’s no connection between the two.”
Nill, who said he found out Sunday after receiving a phone call from someone he would not name, wouldn’t divulge details as to what happened with Montgomery, but did say it was not a criminal act and there will be no criminal investigation; it was all done internally.
John Klingberg said the Stars players were not told about what happened with Jim Montgomery.— Matthew DeFranks (@MDeFranks) December 10, 2019
Montgomery, who has two more years left on his contract, was hired in May 2018 and compiled a 60-43-10 record in parts of two seasons.
Assistant coach Rick Bowness, who was a head coach for five NHL franchises between 1988 and 2003 and was hired as Montgomery’s assistant in June 2018, will take over the role of interim head coach for the rest of the season. Derek Laxdal, who has been serving as head coach of the Stars’ AHL affiliate, will be added to Bowness’ staff.
The Stars currently sit in the first wild card spot in the Western Conference and are only five points out of first place in the Central Division.
"[The players] were very surprised,” Nill said. “I spoke to the team today and they’re very surprised, but we’re very fortunate. We have a good team, we’ve got great leadership and they’re going to get over this. The coaching staff does a great job and they’re going to get over this. It’s a bump in the road and they’re going to digest this and we’ll more forward and go from there.”