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Boston Bruins head Jim Montgomery took home the Jack Adams Award — given to the league’s top bench boss —at Monday Night’s NHL Awards In Nashville.
This wasn’t exactly surprising. Not after Montgomery led the Bruins to the best regular season in NHL history in his first year with the team. Even with other worthy nominees in Seattle’s Dave Hakstol and New Jersey’s Lindy Ruff, it was Montgomery’s to lose.
What may have surprised some who weren’t aware of his story, was Montgomery’s openness about discussing the battle with alcoholism that cost him his first NHL head coaching job.
“Three and a half years ago, the Dallas Stars terminated my contract because of my struggles with alcohol,’ Montgomery said.
Montgomery Touched On ‘Darkest Hour’
Montgomery had a successful stint at the University of Denver which included a national championship in 2017. In 2018, Montgomery got his first break as an NHL head coach with the Dallas Stars.
However, part-way through his second season in Dallas, the team fired him because of, what was called at the time, “a personal behavior issue.” Montgomery later revealed that this was due to alcoholism and that he had checked himself into rehab.
“I had to change my actions and behaviors,” he said in his speech. “That has led to the success I live daily now.”
Montgomery thanked a slew of friends and family members who helped him during his recovery.
“There is a little disbelief, especially if you think back to my darkest hour, three and a half years ago, for sure there is,” Montgomery said following the show, per NHL.com. “I didn’t know if I’d ever coach again, never mind this League, any league. … Personally, being able to have this second chance opportunity … it’s an attitude of gratitude.”
His speech resonated with his netminder and Vezina Trophy winner Linus Ullmark.
“For me, it hits home a little bit more because I’ve had it in my family as well,” Ullmark said. “[Montgomery] is very open about it, which makes you trust him. For me to trust him and he can trust us, you build that relationship and connection towards each other that is so important to a team environment – that I really appreciate.”
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