Six months removed from his untimely dismissal as head coach of the Dallas Stars, Jim Montgomery says he thanks the organization for firing him.
"I’m thankful for the Dallas Stars and Jim Nill for what they did, even though I understand that I disappointed Jim Nill, the staff that I worked with, great staff and great people and the players, especially, I let down," Montgomery told TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun via video chat. "That firing was deserved."
On Dec. 10, 2019, the Stars fired Montgomery for ‘material act of unprofessionalism’ and replaced him with assistant coach Rick Bowness on an interim basis. The following month, Montgomery was reported to have checked into a rehabilitation facility for alcohol abuse.
"It took the firing by the Dallas Stars for me to realize, look in the mirror and understand that disease with alcoholism," Montgomery told LeBrun.
Montgomery compared his rehab to his time as a player by sticking to a structure. He also disclosed that a DUI charge from a coaches retreat when he was 38-years-old was the first sign he had a problem.
"In my 20s and 30s I didn’t think it was, but in my 40s when I look at it now, it undeniably was a problem," Montgomery recalled. "Because, I would go, ‘I’m going to fix this myself.' I would fix everything in my life myself. And I could not fix my problem with alcohol. And I needed to go get help."
Montgomery had two-and-a-half years remaining on a contract which paid him $1.75 million per season. The 50-year-old coach expressed a desire to coach again in the future.
"I am hopeful to coach again, it’s my passion, it’s what I love to do," Mongomery said. "I don’t control the opportunities that are going to come my way. And I do not worry about the future. I just focus on right now and what I do control."