Montgomery was fired in December, 32 games after his second season as a coach of the Stars, for what general manager Jim Nill said was behavior inconsistent with “the core values and beliefs of the Dallas Stars and the National Hockey League ”. The 51-year-old said on Wednesday he has been sober for over nine months now.
Welcome to the Blues, Monty!
Montgomery joins #stlblues as assistant coach https://t.co/Bp2CKWEHk5 pic.twitter.com/XGvZgj2FOc
– St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) September 16, 2020
“Sometimes it takes an unbearable consequence in your life to have an incredible breakthrough, and that’s how I see it,” Montgomery said in a video interview conducted by the Blues. “I’m just so grateful for what happened because now I’m a much better person every day and obviously a better husband, father and son.”
The Stars replaced him in December with interim coach Rick Bowness and are now in the Stanley Cup final. Montgomery said he wished them luck “because I’m not with them because of my own actions. ”
Montgomery said he and his family were very grateful to owner Tom Stillman, general manager Doug Armstrong and coach Craig Berube for this opportunity. His Stars lost in the second round of the 2019 playoffs to the Berube Blues, who won the Cup.
“Jim has won at every level he’s coached, and we can’t wait for him to be a valuable addition to our team,” Armstrong said in a statement.
Montgomery fills the post left vacant by Marc Savard, who retired from training after a season to return to his family in Canada. He had already moved to Saint-Louis with his wife and four young children over the summer for a better family life.
“Fate would have it, an opportunity has opened up with the Blues and we’re just ecstatic as a family,” Montgomery said.
This is Montgomery’s first assistant coach position in the NHL. After a career as a center player that began with St. Louis in the mid-1990s, Montgomery moved behind the bench, winning two championships with the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the United States Hockey League and a national title during one of his five seasons at the University of Denver before the Stars hired him.
Montgomery was seen as one of the next big stars in coaching at the time and helped Dallas advance to the playoffs in their first season there. After firing Montgomery 10 months ago, Nill called the decision very difficult.
“I have a lot of respect for Jim Montgomery,” Nill said. “He’s a very good coach. And unfortunately, you know, sometimes in life the hardest decisions are the hardest. And this is one of them.
It worked well for the Stars after Nill had to make another tough decision that would take over from Bowness, John Stevens and Todd Nelson, all of whom had previously been NHL head coaches. After learning how to drive Montgomery, Nill didn’t have much time to make that decision.
“I just had to decide who I wanted to be kind of the leader of this group,” Nill said Tuesday. “I knew any of them could be, but I just thought Rick was probably the guy. He had been in Dallas with us the longest time at that time. He did a good job.