The University of Maine hockey team opened the 2020 portion of its schedule with a nice weekend against NCHC foe Omaha, picking up a 3-2 win on Saturday in Portland to follow up a 2-2 tie at Alfond Arena on Friday.
While that puts the Black Bears at a respectable 10-8-4 overall as they prepare for the Hockey East stretch run, that's not the biggest news among the UMaine hockey family this weekend.
Yes, I'm talking about former captain Jim Montgomery checking himself into a rehab program.
Montgomery, whose natural hat trick in the 1993 national championship game capped arguably one of the best seasons in the history of college sports, checked himself into a rehab program for alcohol abuse, according to multiple reports.
The fired Dallas Stars head coach said in a statement:
“Losing my job as head coach of the Dallas Stars last month was a wake-up call. It was also the appropriate call. 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.
Today, with the unconditional support of my wife and family, and many close friends, I took another step forward by admitting myself into an inpatient residential program, where I intend to take the steps to be a better husband, father, friend, coach and mentor – one day at a time. It’s a process I am committed to. As I do this, I ask that my family’s privacy be respected."
You have to give Montgomery a lot of respect and admiration for admitting he has an issue and for getting himself some help."
Montgomery's name is a household one in Maine, and he is a very good coach, as evidenced by his track record from the USHL, to the NCAA and up to the highest level of professional hockey worldwide.
Black Bear Nation should be very supportive of their former Captain during this challenging personal time in his life. This is beyond wins and losses. This is about a man attempting to turn his life around.
I was 7 years old when Montgomery recorded that natural hat trick. He turned many people my age on to hockey during an era where the NBA was king.
Will Montgomery be back behind a bench someday? My money bets on yes.
On another note, Maine fans should be pleased with the efforts of the Bears against an Omaha team that plays in the toughest, deepest conference in the nation.
That momentum is needed going into the next several weeks. After an exhibition against the USA Under-18 development team and road trips to UConn and Boston College, the Bears play seven straight games at the Alfond, most against the bottom tier of Hockey East.