The decision is almost set in stone: the Dallas Stars are expected to hire Denver University head coach Jim Montgomery as their replacement for Ken Hitchcock, TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie reports on Wednesday. Chris Dilks, of SB Nation College Hockey, suggested on Tuesday that Montgomery wasa “strong possibility” for the position of head coach in Dallas.
McKenzie added in his report that an announcement is expected to be made later this week. It was also reported by McKenzie's colleague, TSN Senior reporter Frank Seravalli that Montgomery was one of roughly 10 coaches interviewed by general manager Jim Nill for the vacant position.
The New York Rangers are also looking for a new head coach and Montgomery is rumoured to have been the frontrunner there as well. It was also believed that former Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault was considered for the role in Dallas.
Montgomery spent the past five seasons coaching the University of Denver and led the team to a national title in 2017. He took over the the Pioneers in 2013, which whom he reached the Frozen Four twice and posted a 125-57-26 record.
The 48-year-old coach has no National Hockey League experience behind the bench, but is very much suited for the position. He was rumoured to be the leading the candidate for the Florida Panthers head coaching job a year ago before pulling himself out of the race. It was also reported by the New York Times that he also turned down an assitant coach role by the Los Angeles Kings last year, as he was very happy with his position at Denver University.
The Montreal native appeared in 122 NHL games as a player, but spent his most of his career in the American Hockey League. During his NHL tenure, he played with the Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, and, of course, the Dallas Stars. He retired from playing in 2005 and became an assistant coach with Notre Dame for the 2005-06 season.
Montgomery takes over for Hitchcock, who retired last month after returning to the Stars for just one season. Dallas finished the regular season with a 43-32-8 record, missing the playoffs by just three points.