REPORT: Jim Montgomery withdraws from Panthers search, will remain at DU

According to Mike Chambers of the Denver Post, University of Denver hockey head coach Jim Montgomery has taken his name out of consideration to be the Florida Panthers’ next head coach. This report comes after nearly two months of speculation and rumors linking Montgomery to the South Florida NHL franchise.

After guiding Denver to the program’s 8th national title just under two months ago in Chicago, Montgomery had been linked to the Panthers a number of times and even interviewed with Dale Tallon, Florida’s general manager, at least twice.

Montgomery said after an appearance at Coors Field to throw out the first pitch for a Rockies game that he expected to stay at DU. He mentioned that the wanted the situation to be resolved quickly, which is the exact opposite of what Florida had planned. Florida has yet to name a head coach and it’s presumed that Phil Housley, an assistant coach for the Nashville Predators, is atop Tallon’s list.

“My family and I are very happy here,” Montgomery said in a text message to the Denver Post, reiterating what he had told the media many times during this saga.

This announcement will be sure to put Denver hockey fans at ease on two fronts. On one hand, Montgomery is seen as the main reason Denver hockey is back among college hockey’s elite. On the other, most had assumed that Denver’s “Big 3” of Henrik Borgström, Troy Terry, and Dylan Gambrell would head out the door right behind their head coach should he decide to forego the remainder of his contract and go to the NHL. Now, there’s virtually no question that all three will stay with the program for at least another year.

With the rumors and speculation now put to bed for good, the Pioneers can look ahead and focus on bringing home national title #9, which is a completely reasonable expectation given the returning cast. Realistically, with Montgomery once again at the helm of this program, almost anything other than a second straight national title would be disappointing.

Rest easy, Pios. Monty is staying home.

15 thoughts on “REPORT: Jim Montgomery withdraws from Panthers search, will remain at DU”

  1. Happy Monty is staying – he’s a great coach, who will get his NHL shot someday.

    Repeating as NCAA Champions is difficult. A lot of things would have to go right, especially injuries. Offensively, DU should be fantastic next season, with so much of the firepower returning, more experienced. DU will need to cultivate some new leadership among its forward grinders to replace the yeoman’s work done by players like Jannsen, Romig and Ritt, and losing Marcninew’s face-off ability is a loss as well. I think DU can plug most of those holes, assuming a couple of the Freshman can contribute up front.

    DU’s goaltending is probably going to be among the best in the country with Jaillet, Muson and Rasmussen – three scholarship-calibre goalies.

    The biggest hole to fill, though, is Will Butcher. Davies may fill some of the offensive void on the PP, and Plant and Hammond can fill some of the leadership void, but Hobey Baker winners aren’t easily replaced, especially Butcher’s ability to see and control a game, and to make a great first pass out of the zone. Ian Mitchell may be the next Will Butcher, but you can’t expect from him that as a freshman.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yahooooooo excellent decision to stay and lead a great hockey program and have the opportunity to teach young men core values.I know all DU hockey fans (and for sure the players) are thrilled Monty is returning as head coach! The drive for 9 begins!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Awesome. Super excited to hear this, and happy that I will not regret my season ticket purchase! I hope that all, or most, of the players in question will come back. Also looking forward to DU being “Finland West,” with Borgstrom and a couple other talented Finns on the DU ice.


  4. It looks like DU and Monty have an open marriage.” Go out and try the field Monty. I’ll be here waiting when you come back!”


  5. Any college program has an “open marriage” where the NHL is concerned, since jumping directly is still exceedingly rare. There have only been three college coaches to jump directly to the NHL as head coaches. Ned Harkness (Cornell to Red Wings), Bob Johnson (Wisconsin to Calgary) and Dave Hakstol (North Dakota to Flyers). Other college coaches have eventually made it to the NHL head coaching with intermediate stops in the minors, Olympics, NHL assistant, etc.).

    With only 30 NHL head coaching jobs out there, and NHL head jobs paying about $2 million per season, no college program has much leverage. Monty is likely at or near the top of the college pay scale at about $500-600K per season when you look at his entire package of salary, bonuses, camp revenue, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The program would be nowhere near this level if Gwoz had remained. The Gwoz had lost his way on recruiting…too focused on trying to build an NHL resume, didn’t focus enough on the program. Coach Monty reestablished the proper focus. A great coach….


  7. Anon 4:17 You’re speaking rubbish. Only four lines and you are dead wrong about six different times.
    I’ve know Gwoz. for many years and as good as he was at coaching on ice hockey he was even better at mentoring his players into becoming good character men.. He didn’t traffic bad behavior as opposed to schools like N.Dak.and B U.,did in the past. . He did it the right way.
    .We owe him a big debt of gratitude for restoring our program., not silly out from left field comments like yours. .
    Now e have another great coach in Jim M. The beat goes on!.


    1. Dude. Did I say Gwoz did anything wrong with the off-ice portion of the program? It is totally correct that the on-ice portion of the program is far superior to what it would be had Gwoz not been fired. People get fired for a reason. BTW…I have met/known/ worked with every DU coach since Murray. Have a nice day.


  8. OK, Mr. Insider has talked to all the coaches…geez…Any disrespect to Gwoz should be met with a swift kick to the nads. Gwoz’s title in 2004 is the most important in DU hockey history, and he followed that up with a repeat in 05. Gwoz is in the DU coaching pantheon with Murray Armstrong. Monty is getting close to that level, but he’s not there yet.

    To address the main point–it’s wrong to say that the program would be “nowhere near” this level if Gwoz was still at the helm. Gwoz was already near the current level when he parted ways with DU. He was consistently making the tournament, and consistently having 20+ win seasons. That’s the foundation that Monty inherited and benefited from. The great thing that Monty has done, has been to make progress every year, whereas Gwoz’s teams stagnated and couldn’t win more than one game in the tourney in the post-2005 years. I agree that a couple of the Gwoz teams suffered from a lack of focus in crunch time, perhaps because some players had their eyes on the future. Whereas Monty’s 2017 was laser focused, and clearly bought in to the team plan and system. So….Monty has been an awesome successor to Gwoz. But to say something like Gwoz “wouldn’t even be close to this level” is both inaccurate and disrespectful to a DU coaching legend.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Gwoz recruited weLL even near the end of his tenure. Didn’t Gambrell, Butcher and Terry commit to DU on his watch?


    1. Do you mean Steve Miller? Coach Miller had more to do with Butcher than anyone. From the same region of Wisconsin, he played with a Butcher in the USHL…for Madison…keep testing, I got you…LOL


  10. Correct–Gwozdecky & his staff recruited all three. Further undermining the above poster’s “logic.”

    But credit to Montgomery, for getting all three to “buy in” to his system…allowing all three to shine individually, while achieving the ultimate team goal at the same time. Monty will also get additional credit if he’s able to get Borgstrom, Terry and Gambrell to return for one more season.


  11. Gwoz and Monty are both great coaches to be sure. But both of them stand on the wide shoulders of Murray Armstrong, who is by far and away DU’s greatest coach and program builder. Murray took DU from a fairly new upstart hockey program in an area with no hockey tradition or talent pool, to 5 NCAA titles and made DU into the hockey school we enjoy today.


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