The University of Denver has signed head hockey coach Jim Montgomery to a new five-year contract extension, according to a story broken by Mike Chambers of the Denver Post on June 28, and made official by the University of Denver in a press release on June 29. The contract will extend Montgomery through the 2020-2021 season, and financial terms were not disclosed, per DU policy.
“We couldn’t be more pleased to be signing Jim to this well-earned extension and we’re incredibly excited about the state of our hockey program,” said DU Director of Athletics and Recreation Peg Bradley-Doppes in the press release. “Jim’s dynamic leadership, technical proficiency and passion for his sport are all unparalleled, as is his dedication to his craft. The style of play he has brought to Denver has definitely reinvigorated the program and we look forward to the Pioneers’ legacy continuing to grow and thrive in the coming years under his leadership.”
Montgomery, who turns 47 on June 30, has led the Pioneers to progressively better finishes in each of his three seasons since taking over the Pioneer program in 2013 after legendary head coach George Gwozdecky was fired. Last season, the Pioneers made it to the NCAA Frozen Four for the first time since 2005.
According to the Calgary Sun, Montgomery was a finalist for the NHL’s Calgary Flames vacant head coach position earlier this month, but the Flames selected Glen Gulutzan for the job. The flirtation with Calgary may have helped expedite the the DU deal, as some NHL teams are becoming increasingly interested in promising NCAA coaches. This new interest is based on the solid performances turned in by former University of North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol with the Philadelphia Flyers and former Western Michigan coach Jeff Blashill with the Detroit Red Wings, who both guided their NHL teams to the playoffs in their rookie seasons as NHL head coaches. Prior to last season, former college head coaches in the NHL were very rare.
The Denver Post reported that the new contract represents a substantial raise from his previous deal, and will place him in the upper echelon of coaching pay packages in the NCHC.
“I’m very pleased with the offer they put in front of me, that’s for sure,” Montgomery told the Denver Post.
Puck Swami is the internet moniker of a long-time DU fan and alumnus.