Stars say coach’s firing unrelated to NHL’s new conduct plan


(Reuters) – Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill said the undisclosed act that led to the team’s head coach Jim Montgomery being fired on Tuesday was not related to abuse allegations or anything else covered under the NHL’s umbrella of new policies.

Soccer Football – FA Cup Second Round – Shrewsbury Town vs Morecambe – Montgomery Waters Meadow, Shrewsbury, Britain – December 2, 2017 Morecambe manager Jim Bentley Action Images/Paul Burrows

The firing comes a day after NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman outlined a four-point plan to better deal with personal conduct issues following a number of recent allegations of verbal, physical and emotional abuse between coaches and players.

Nill would not elaborate on what Montgomery did “out of respect for everyone involved” but said the “material act of unprofessionalism” had no connection to past or present players. He also said no criminal investigation was involved.

“Once I received all the information, we sat down, we had to digest everything and as I mentioned, we talked to general counsel and everything else and we made our decision,” Nill told reporters at a news conference.

Nill said he learned of the incident over the weekend and that the act took place “a few days before that.”

Montgomery, who was hired by Dallas in May 2018, is the second NHL head coach in recent weeks to lose his job for a matter unrelated to his team’s on-ice performance.

Bill Peters resigned as head coach of the Calgary Flames two weeks ago after being accused of directing a racial slur towards a black player 10 years ago while coaching in the minor leagues.

Shortly after Mike Babcock was fired by the struggling Toronto Maple Leafs in November, it was revealed that he used a controversial coaching tactic on a rookie.

The Chicago Blackhawks also suspended assistant coach Marc Crawford last week over allegations he physically abused players while serving in previous head coaching roles.

In an effort to change hockey culture for the better, Bettman announced on Monday at the Board of Governors meeting in California new policies to crack down on misconduct across the 31-team league.

“Going forward, our clubs are on notice that if they become aware of an incident of conduct involving NHL personnel on or off the ice that is clearly inappropriate, unlawful or demonstrably abusive, or that may violate the league’s policies, involving NHL Club personnel, on or off the ice, we at the League office … must be immediately advised,” said Bettman.

“There will be zero tolerance for any failure to notify us and in the event of such failure, the club and individuals involved can expect severe discipline.”

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ian Chadband

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