Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Blues hire Montgomery to assistant coach role

Former Stars coach, who began NHL playing career in 
St. Louis, to replace Marc Savard with two-year contract

ST. LOUIS -- The Blues dipped into the pool of familiar coaches to fill a need for an assistant's role.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Jim Montgomery has been hired as an assistant coach for the Blues.

The team announced on Wednesday they hired former Dallas Stars coach Jim Montgomery to Craig Berube's coaching staff as an assistant coach.

Montgomery, who began his NHL career with the Blues and whose wife Emily is from St. Louis, agreed to a two-year contract.

Montgomery was fired as coach of the Stars on Dec. 10 for unprofessional conduct and later admitted he checked into rehab for alcohol abuse. He said in a oom interview on the Blues' website he's been sober for nine months now.

"We are excited to add Jim to our team and to Craig’s staff," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said in a statement. "Jim has won at every level he has coached at and we look forward to him being a valuable addition to our team."

Montgomery replaces Marc Savard, who left the team recently to return to Canada and spend more time with his family.

Montgomery will join Berube’s staff that includes Steve Ott, Mike Van Ryn, David Alexander and Sean Ferrell.

"My family and I are very grateful to Mr. (Tom) Stillman, Doug and Craig for this opportunity to be part of the Blues organization," Montgomery said in a statement. "This is an extremely talented group of players and staff and I am looking forward to assisting in any way to help the Blues regain the Stanley Cup."

Montgomery was 60-43-10 in two seasons as Stars coach. Dallas reached the Western Conference Second Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season and were knocked out in a seven-game series to the eventual Cup champion Blues. The Stars, who were 20-13-5 when Montgomery was fired eventually replaced by Rick Bowness, have reached the Stanley Cup Final this season.

"Losing my job as head coach of the Dallas Stars was a wake-up call," Montgomery said in a statement on Jan. 3. "It was also the appropriate call. I let the team's front office, staff and players down. More importantly, I let my wife and 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."

This is Montgomery's first NHL assistant coaching job. He won two championships with the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League and a national title at the University of Denver, where he spent five seasons, before the Stars hired him.

The 51-year-old signed as a college free agent by the Blues in 1993 after four seasons at the University of Maine. He had six goals and 14 assists in 67 games for the Blues in 1993-94 and ended his playing career by playing for the Missouri River Otters  of the United Hockey League in 2004-05, finishing with 20 goals and 27 assists in 42 games.

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