Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery took home the Jack Adams Award on Monday night as the NHL’s coach of the year.
Montgomery led the Bruins to an NHL-record 65 wins and 135 points before falling to the Florida Panthers in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
It’s been a long journey for Montgomery, who was fired by the Dallas Stars in 2019 for “unprofessional conduct inconsistent with the core values and beliefs” of the organization.
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On Monday, Montgomery discussed the firing and his struggles with alcohol.
“Three and a half years ago, the Dallas Stars terminated my contract because of my struggles with alcohol,” Montgomery said after accepting the award. “I had to change my actions and behaviors. And that’s when my new team, the most important team in my life, is really what leads to the success I live daily right now.
“And for those that struggle out there, you can change. You can affect change within yourself. It doesn't happen alone. You need a team. You need a community.”
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Montgomery received a second chance in 2020 as an assistant coach with the St. Louis Blues before being hired as the next Bruins head coach in 2022.
Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark, who took home the Vezina Award as the NHL’s best goaltender, said Montgomery’s struggles “hits home a little bit more” for him.
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“For me, it hits home a little bit more because I've had [addiction] in my family, as well,” Ullmark said, per ESPN. “So for him to always be that open about it just shows that he lets everything out there. He's very open, which makes you trust him. For me to trust him and he can trust us, you build that relationship, you build that connection towards each other that is so important when it comes to the team environment.”
In his head coaching career, Montgomery has a record of 125-55 and led the Stars to the playoffs in his only full season at the helm.