Fired Stars coach Jim Montgomery checking into alcohol rehab

Former Dallas Stars coach Jim Montgomery is entering rehabilitation for alcohol abuse, he said in a statement on Friday.

Montgomery, who was abruptly fired on Dec. 10 due to "unprofessional conduct," says his dismissal was a "wake-up call."

"It was also the appropriate call," Montgomery said. "I let the team's front office, staff and players down. More importantly, I let my wife and my family down. The team's decision to end my role forced me to look into the mirror and decide whether I wanted to continue living a damaging lifestyle or get help. I decided to get help. I turned to professionals in the field of alcohol abuse for their guidance and counseling. It has been an overwhelming and a very humbling experience knowing that I am not alone."

Stars general manager Jim Nill told the Dallas Morning News that the organization is "supportive of this decision by Jim."

"We hope that by pursuing this help, he and his family will be stronger for it," Nill said. He said he would have no further comment.

The Stars had been careful in how they characterized their reasoning for firing Montgomery, saying there was no criminal investigation and that no Stars employees were involved in Montgomery's fireable offense. The decision was not based on performance, either, as the Stars were in a playoff position when Montgomery was dismissed.

Montgomery, 50, was in his second season with the Stars after five seasons as coach of the University of Denver. He had two years left on his contract at $1.6 million per season. Montgomery was fired for cause, meaning the team is not on the hook for the salary.

Montgomery was arrested for DUI in Florida in 2008, an incident the Stars were aware of when they hired him.

Dallas finished fourth in the Central Division last season but made a run in the playoffs, losing in seven games in the second round to the eventual champion St. Louis Blues.

Rick Bowness has been serving as the Stars' interim coach, and the team has gone 7-3-1 under his watch -- including a 4-2 win over the Nashville Predators in the Winter Classic at the Cotton Bowl. The Stars are now tied for second place in the Central Division.