On Tuesday morning, the Dallas Stars announced the dismissal of head coach Jim Montgomery stating, “The Dallas Stars expect all of our employees to act with integrity and exhibit professional behavior while working for and representing our organization.
“This decision was made due to unprofessional conduct inconsistent with the core values and beliefs of the Dallas Stars and the National Hockey League.”
Assistant coach Rick Bowness has been promoted to interim head coach, effective immediately. Derek Laxdal, who was the head coach of the AHL’s Texas Stars, also receives a promotion to the NHL as an assistant coach in Dallas.
The move comes one day after Gary Bettman announced changes requiring NHL teams to “immediately [advise]” the NHL office if they “become aware of an incident of conduct involving the NHL personnel on or off the ice that is clearly inappropriate, unlawful or demonstrably abusive, or that may violate the League’s policies.”
TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported that “the NHL was aware of the situation with Jim Montgomery even before Gary Bettman met the media here last night to announce the league’s 4-point plan, but that Montgomery’s dismissal does not fall under the auspices of that plan. Not related to it apparently.” While TSN’s Darren Dreger added that the firing was not related to any abuse allegations but was a necessary move.
Montgomery first took the reigns in Dallas prior to the 2018-19 season. The Stars have gone 113-60-43 under Montgomery and made the playoffs in his only complete season as an NHL head coach, losing in Game 7 of the second round to the eventual Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues.
Prior to his NHL tenure, Montgomery coached at the University of Denver for five seasons and the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints for three — winning two championships. Among the players, he coached was current New Jersey Devil Will Butcher at Denver and Johnny Gaudreau and Zemgus Girgensons at Dubuque.
Bowness’ NHL coaching experience dates back to 1984 where he served as an assistant coach for the Winnipeg Jets. He was the Jets head coach for 28 games in the 1988-89 season. He has served nine seasons as an NHL head coach with the Jets, Boston Bruins, Ottawa Senators, New York Islanders and Phoenix Coyotes with five of them being shortened due to mid-season replacements. His longest-consecutive run was in Ottawa where he served as bench boss for 235 games with a 39-178-18.
Montgomery now joins Mike Babcock, Bill Peters and John Hynes as coaches who have been fired this season.
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