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Former Stars coach Montgomery enters rehab for alcohol abuse, says firing was ‘appropriate call’

"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," Jim Montgomery said in his first public comments since he was fired by the Stars.

In his first public statement since his sudden firing by the Dallas Stars in December, coach Jim Montgomery announced that he is seeking professional help for alcohol abuse and has admitted himself into an “inpatient residential program.”

The statement comes nearly one month after the Stars swiftly terminated Montgomery, 50, after the organization learned of what GM Jim Nill called at the time a “material act of unprofessionalism.” In a statement published by The Dallas Morning News' Matthew DeFranks, Montgomery said that his firing by the Stars served as a “wake-up call,” and said that Dallas’ front office made “the appropriate call” in relieving him of his duties.

“I let the team’s front office, staff and players down,” Montgomery’s statement reads. “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.”

Montgomery’s added that he admitted himself to a rehab program Friday, where he intends 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.” He asked that his family’s privacy be respected during this process.

In a statement to The Dallas Morning News, Nill said the Stars are “supportive of this decision by Jim and we hope that by pursuing this help, he and his family will be stronger for it.”

Montgomery, who was signed to a four-year, $6.4-million contract by the Stars ahead of the 2018-19 campaign, won an NCAA championship during his five-year tenure as coach of the University of Denver Pioneers. He led the Stars to a 43-32-7 record in his first season as an NHL bench boss, earning the Stars a post-season berth and advancing to the second round of the post-season. In his 32 games behind Dallas’ bench this season, the Stars, who began the season with one win in their first nine games, had an 18-11-3 record.

At the time of Montgomery’s firing, veteran coach Rick Bowness took over behind the Stars bench, where he has posted a 6-3-1 record.

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