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.