The Dallas Stars made it official on Friday morning, checking another box off of their offseason list. They hired Denver University’s Jim Montgomery as their next head coach.
Relentless. That’s the word that new Dallas Stars head coach Jim Montgomery used when describing what he wants to turn his team into in 2018-19.
On Friday morning, the Stars hosted a press conference to officially announce Montgomery as the franchise’s next head coach. The reports had been swirling around since Wednesday morning about his hiring, and now they are confirmed. He will serve as the eighth head coach in Dallas Stars history and is the third coach since March 2017.
Jim Nill said that after getting his list down to around 10 coaches (five being NHL vets and five being new coaches to the league), he met with Montgomery and immediately saw a click.
“This is an awesome day for the Montgomery family,” said the new head coach. “I have to thank Tom Gaglardi and the Gaglardi family, Jim Lites, and general manager Jim Nill for giving me the privilege to coach this hockey team. For our family, we loved our life in Denver and I loved my job. The only way I was going to move from a great position was for an opportunity that was better.”
Montgomery, who said in the press conference that he will gladly go as “Monty” to avoid any confusion with the other Jims in the organization, is 48 years old. This will be his first time coaching at the NHL level and is only the fifth coach in history to jump directly from college to the NHL.
But that’s not to say he can’t be successful. “Monty” has bounced around the hockey world since wrapping up his playing days in 2003 with the Stars. Most recently, he’s been in the NCAA coaching the University of Denver Pioneers. And through five seasons, he’s led them to being one of the best teams in college hockey.
Denver owns a record of 125-57-26 under Montgomery along with two appearances in the Frozen Four and one NCAA Championship. They won it in 2017 after defeating Minnesota-Duluth in the championship game.
Now, he will come to Dallas and try to replicate that success.
“When I look at this lineup, I really get excited,” said Montgomery in the press conference. “It has everything you want. It has star power. You have depth, you have size, you have skill, and you have speed.”
The Dallas Stars are coming off of their second straight season without a playoff berth. They fell three points short this season after a historic collapse in March and needed to take their team in a new direction yet again. Montgomery will be that new direction, and he already has a new mindset to bring to the table.
“I’m a process-oriented coach who believes in a first-team approach,” said Montgomery. “Every decision we’re going to make is what is best for the Dallas Stars and we’re going to think team. On the ice for a Dallas Stars fan, if you can think of an adjective we’re going to look like, it’s going to be relentless. We’re going to be a puck possession team that tries to make plays everywhere on the ice and when we don’t have the puck, we’re going to pressure you so we can get it back and make more plays.”
Whether he can get the Stars back into the playoffs in his first year as a coach is still uncertain, but there is plenty of promise in this hire.
With the draft, development camp, and free agency coming in the near future, there’s a lot left to look forward to. But now the Dallas Stars at least have their head coach.