Last month, on a random Tuesday morning, the Dallas Stars sent shockwaves through the NHL. They had fired their head coach after an astonishing turn around from a disastrous 1-7-1 start. The reason cited by general manager Jim Nill was a “material incident of unprofessional conduct.”
With the team heading in the right direction, Jim Montgomery’s job was seemingly safe once more. They were about to start filming for the behind-the-scenes documentary “Road to the Winter Classic” with the NHL. The team was just weeks away from playing outside on the league’s biggest stage of the regular season.
What was happening under the surface, though, was bigger than most realized.
In his first public comments as originally reported by Matt DeFranks at the Dallas Morning News, Montgomery addressed his dismissal from the team:
“Losing my job as head coach of the Dallas Stars last month was a wake-up call. It was also the appropriate call. I let the team’s front office, staff and players down. More importantly, I let my wife and my family down. The team’s decision to end my role forced me to look into the mirror and decide whether I wanted to continue living a damaging lifestyle or get help. I decided to get help. I turned to professionals in the field of alcohol abuse for their guidance and counseling. It has been an overwhelming and a very humbling experience knowing that I am not alone.
Today, with the unconditional support of my wife and family, and many close friends, I took another step forward by admitting myself into an inpatient residential program, where I intend to take the steps to be a better husband, father, friend, coach and mentor – one day at a time. It’s a process I am committed to. As I do this, I ask that my family’s privacy be respected. Thanks, Monty.”
They say the first step in fixing a problem is admitting you have one. This is a huge first step for Montgomery’s recovery, and we wish him all the best.
On a personal note, I hope that he is able to get better and continue to be part of his family’s life in a positive way moving forward. When I was 10 years old, we received a call that my uncle had died in a car accident; he had fought alcoholism most of his adult life. He had driven drunk, without a seatbelt, and was killed when he flipped his truck on a split bridge and it landed upside down in the water below.
I wouldn’t wish that kind of news on anyone. By recognizing he has an issue with alcohol abuse, hopefully the Montgomery family never will.