In December of 2019, Jim Montgomery’s coaching career was in limbo. Despite a successful tenure as head coach of the Dallas Stars, Montgomery was relieved of his coaching duties for “unprofessional conduct” related to alcohol abuse.
Montgomery focused on his sobriety after being fired, and was reflective when speaking of his dismissal by the Stars:
“When I looked in the mirror, people wonder why I’m thankful for the Dallas Stars and (general manager) Jim Nill for what they did even though I understand that I disappointed Jim Nill, the staff I worked with and the players especially. I let them down,” Montgomery reflected. “That firing was deserved. I wasn’t doing the right things.
“I felt I was being a hypocrite. I was asking my players to do the right thing and yet I wasn’t. I think it’s important to know that as I did before I went through all of this undertaking, of understanding science and what alcohol does to you.”
“I’ve sought that help and that’s why I talk about that daily conditioning allows me to have a sober life and my life is much better,” Montgomery detailed. “I tell you that a lot of people have told me that your life is going to get better and now that I’m coming up on six months, it does get better.
“I’m just thankful for all those reasons for the Stars letting me go.”
Montgomery got a second chance with the NHL team that he made his debut with. Doug Armstrong brought him on board the Blues’ coaching staff before the 2020-2021 season, and he was positive about what Montgomery’s contributions would be, and Armstrong was right. Over the two seasons that Montgomery has been with the Blues, he has been an outstanding member of the Blues coaching staff, first strengthening the team’s power play in his initial season with the team, and then rejuvenating the team’s penalty kill this year, which went from the 25th best in the league to the fifth.
There’s no way that a NHL team who needed a new head coach wouldn’t look at him.
The Bruins, who surprised many by firing Bruce Cassidy earlier this month despite the successes under his coaching, have extended an offer to Montgomery that is in the process of being finalized.
Blues assistant coach Jim Montgomery will be the Bruins’ next coach. Contract being finalized. Blues will need to replace Montgomery, who did a terrific job in St. Louis. #stlblues— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) July 1, 2022
This breaks the cycle of hiring the same old replacement coaches from the typical pool, but better than that, it’s a culmination of two years worth of hard work for Montgomery both behind the bench and in his personal life. Doug Armstrong expected one of Craig Berube’s assistants to land a job elsewhere this summer and is shopping for replacements; he was more than proven correct about giving Montgomery a second chance. Montgomery’s new position with the Bruins proves that.