Jim Montgomery, now sober, will get 2nd NHL shot with St. Louis Blues


This COVID-19 calendar 12 months — a 12 months many people wish to neglect — has been life-changing for Jim Montgomery.
The previous College of Denver hockey coach has recognized the silver lining of his very public alcohol-induced dismissal as head coach of the Dallas Stars final December, and he embraces it. It’s nearly like he’s grateful it occurred — as a result of if it didn’t, he wouldn’t be a liberated and wholesome household man and assistant coach for the St. Louis Blues.
“I at all times used to say in Denver when gamers had been suspended, ‘They didn’t do the fitting factor.’ Properly, I didn’t do the fitting factor and generally it takes an unbelievable breakdown to have an simple breakthrough,” Montgomery mentioned in a cellphone interview with The Denver Publish. “Proper now I’m a a lot better particular person and I believe I’m going to be a a lot better coach due to every thing that’s occurred.”
Montgomery, 51, says he’s now 10 months sober and has a a lot better understanding of who he’s and the way he should conduct his life.
“I realized that alcohol is not a viable choice for me, as a result of it had turn out to be an issue,” he mentioned. “When you notice that and also you perceive the illness, shifting ahead doesn’t turn out to be simple however you begin to perceive the coping mechanisms you want and it turns into extremely liberating.”
Montgomery had been recognized to drink excessively in public earlier than shedding his job with the Stars, in line with a narrative within the Fort Price Star-Telegram. That included frequent appearances at a bar owned by Stars proprietor Tom Gaglardi situated close to the crew’s dwelling enviornment.
Montgomery was perceived as a public determine who drank an excessive amount of, prompting Stars normal supervisor Jim Nill to ask his hand-picked coach to deal with his conduct. Lower than halfway via his second season in Dallas, he was out.
“It’s one of many hardest challenges I’ve needed to face since you acquired to vary folks, locations and issues that you simply do in life and that’s not simple at 51,” Montgomery instructed The Publish. “A very powerful factor, as a husband, as a father, as a buddy, and a son and brother, I’m much more current. I’m very far more in contact and much more unselfish within the sense that I’m at all times questioning now how can I be extra of service to somebody.
“While you stay in a way of life of being grateful and being of service to others, it’s extremely empowering. You try this as a coach. And now I’m making use of what I used to be actually good as a coach to my on a regular basis life and my private life.”
The transfer out of Dallas
Montgomery deliberate a mid-summer transfer out of Dallas along with his household — spouse Emily, sons J.P., 11, and Colin, 9, and daughters Ava, 5, and Olivia, 3.
The choices had been St. Louis, the place Emily is from and the place Jim started his NHL taking part in profession in 1993, or Denver, the place the household developed friendships throughout Jim’s 5 profitable years at DU.
Jim and Emily selected St. Louis due to household ties. Lower than three months later, Jim was named an assistant coach for the hometown NHL crew. The 2-year contract, signed Sept. 16, will most likely put him again on a path to turn out to be an NHL head coach once more.
Montgomery, who was 60-43-10 with Dallas and had the Stars inside a Recreation 7 double-overtime purpose of advancing to the 2019 Western Convention finals, mentioned he acquired curiosity from junior {and professional} groups and was ready to stay away from his household for a 12 months if he needed to get again within the recreation. Now, he’ll stay in St. Louis and proceed to function an assistant coach for his sons’ hockey groups and look over his two younger daughters whereas working with the Blues.
“I can’t let you know how unbelievable and lucky I really feel {that a} scenario arose right here the place my household resides and I get to remain and stay with my household,” Montgomery mentioned. “We had been dedicated to me shifting and residing alone till the household might be a part of me the next season if I used to be to get employed someplace.
“I nonetheless get emotional speaking about it.”
Montgomery replaces Marc Savard, who resigned Sept. 4, and can run the forwards and energy play for Blues head coach Craig Berube. Montgomery mentioned he was approached for the job by Keith Tkachuk, director of participant recruitment.
“You hear that Marc Savard had left, and I understand how it really works. Folks name you,” Montgomery mentioned. “They know who they need, so to talk, when searching for coaches and gamers. I get a textual content from Keith Tkachuk … Doug Armstrong and Craig Berube had talked, after which I talked to each of them in consecutive days. Inside per week, I had one other assembly, a breakfast assembly, with Doug Armstrong and our proprietor, Mr. (Tom) Stillman, then negotiations began.”
Like Dallas, St. Louis is within the Central Division with the Avalanche and Montgomery will once more go to Denver usually.
“That’s actually thrilling, to have the ability to see nice pals once more. I like town of Denver,” he mentioned. “My youngsters nonetheless beg for us to maneuver again there.”
Rooting Dallas on
The Stars, led by interim head coach Rick Bowness, whom Montgomery employed in 2018, upset the Avalanche and the Vegas Golden Knights en path to the Stanley Cup Remaining, the place they misplaced in six video games to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Montgomery watched the sequence on the sting of his seat like all Dallas followers.
“I’m extremely upset that they didn’t turn out to be victorious due to the good folks,” Montgomery mentioned of his former crew. “Rick Bowness is an unbelievable human being, as is the remainder of the workers — John Stevens and Todd Nelson are shut private pals.”
He added: “I felt like I had a hand — a really small hand — however I had a hand within the construction that helped Dallas have success.”

On the identical time, Montgomery sorely missed what he might have skilled. Every of his 5 DU groups improved steadily and performed their greatest hockey on the finish of the season — primarily in 2017 when the Pioneers gained the NCAA championship — and he felt the Stars had been able to successful all of it.
“I like to educate. That’s the underside line,” Montgomery mentioned. “I like being a part of a crew and I like watching a gaggle collectively come collectively and attain their ceiling. Having the ability to try this at any degree has at all times been my ardour.”
Montgomery is now extra passionate than ever about teaching. and life. He appears like he has extra to supply as a coach and a buddy. And he’s grateful.
“You could have this setback and then you definately begin realizing what number of nice folks there are to assist me, and conversely, lots of people have reached out and I’ve been capable of assist folks,” he mentioned. “That’s highly effective.”


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