Nick Jehamy | December 11th, 2019
On the morning of Tuesday, December 10th the Dallas Stars announced the firing of head coach Jim Montgomery. The reason given for this mysterious firing was “unprofessional conduct”. No further details were released on the matter. Montgomery is now the third head coach released within the last month, the first being Mike Babcock in Toronto, and the second being Bill Peters in Calgary.
Coach Mike Babcock of the Toronto Maple Leafs was fired after a very slow start to the season for a young and talented Maple Leafs team. The Maple Leafs looked sloppy and uninspired, the firing of Babcock and bringing in Sheldon Keefe so far seems to have rejuvenated the Leafs and put them back on track. Thankfully they are in the weaker of the two divisions in the East and are still very much in the mix of things with more than half the season left to play since the firing of Babcock. He has been under heavy fire with allegations surrounding his actions while coaching in Detroit, verbally attacking his players. Another story came out wherein 2016, Babcock made Leafs rookie Mitch Marner rate his fellow veteran players, and then revealed it all to the team. Babcock was the highest-paid coach in NHL history, just in the fifth year of an eight-year, fifty million dollar contract.
Bill Peters of the Calgary Flames technically wasn’t fired, but instead resigned as the head coach of the Calgary Flames after allegations were brought up against him. Former NHL player, Akim Aliu, accused Peters of using racial slurs towards him about a decade ago when Peters was coaching the Rockford IceHogs in the American Hockey League. It was also said that he physically kicked former player Michal Jordan while coaching for the Carolina Hurricanes. The league is currently conducting its own investigation into the matter. Coincidentally, Bill Peters was also a protege of Mike Babcock’s.
These instances with Peters and Babcock have opened up a new wound in the NHL and the conduct of its coaches, everyone is now under the microscope. Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach Marc Crawford is currently put on leave while the organization investigates allegations of abuse while Crawford was coaching for other organizations within the league.
On Monday, December 9th, the NHL and commissioner Gary Bettman outlined a new policy relating to coaching conduct and abuse in the league and made a point to say that their will be zero tolerance from the league on such issues moving forward.
Coach Montgomery’s release came the day after this was put out there by the NHL. “Unprofessional conduct” was the reason given, and it was said that it has nothing to do with the issues currently affecting the NHL, but with no information released on the matter, who knows. Assistant Rick Bowness will be the interim coach for now.
Players are starting to speak up, and with this new policy in place, the NHL will be much more serious and attentive to the matter at hand… So, who will be next?
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