It appears we have a controversy brewing in the NHL, and the Dallas Stars need a new head coach because of it.
The Stars fired head coach Jim Montgomery on Tuesday morning. It’s a surprising move given the Stars’ recent turnaround, but as the organization said in releasing the news, they fired Montgomery for “unprofessional conduct.”
The details of said conduct currently are unknown, but Dallas general manager Jim Nil released a statement through the team with the announcement.
“The Dallas Stars expect all of our employees to act with integrity and exhibit professional behavior while working for and representing our organization,” Nil said in the 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.”
It’s interesting timing for the decision, as it comes a day after the NHL announced a four-point plan to improve the sport’s culture at the highest level amid multiple allegations of abuse from coaches.
Dallas entered the season with Stanley Cup hopes but struggled mightily out of the gate, losing eight of its first nine games. Under Montgomery’s watch, however, the Stars turned things around in mid-October, winning seven of eight. A seven-game winning streak in November got them back into contention, and they had won 13 of their last 18 at the time of the firing.
The announcement comes on game day — the Stars play the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night — and just three weeks before Dallas hosts the Nashville Predators in the Winter Classic at the Cotton Bowl.
UPDATE (11:05 a.m. ET): According to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun and TSN’s Darren Dreger, Jim Montgomery’s dismissal is not tied to the NHL’s new culture plan.
I?m told 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.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) December 10, 2019
Another source familiar with the situation says the Dallas Stars really had no choice and also says this is non abuse related. https://t.co/RzHHC26icp
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) December 10, 2019