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Dallas Stars fire head coach for 'unprofessional conduct'

The Stars dismissed Jim Montgomery on Tuesday. Rick Bowness has been made the interim head coach.

Updated at 11:23 a.m. with information from a news conference. 

The Dallas Stars fired head coach Jim Montgomery on Tuesday, citing "unprofessional conduct," team officials said. 

During a morning news conference, General Manager Jim Nill gave few details about what specifically led to the firing. 

"I can't divulge," Nill said.

The firing came as a surprise to the team and Rick Bowness, who was named interim head coach. They all learned about the dismissal Tuesday morning. 

Nill said team leadership learned on Sunday about a "material act of unprofessionalism" by Montgomery. 

The GM did clarify that the act did not have anything to do with the current or past members of the team. And, Nill said Montgomery had been a good coach. 

The team has started the season with a 17-11-3 record to hold a playoff position in the current standings. Montgomery was hired in May 2018 and was in his second season as head coach of the Stars. 

"This decision was not based on on-ice performance," Nill said.

Bowness, who has been an assistant coach since June 2018, will be in the interim position for the rest of the season. 

"Usually when a coach takes over a team, they're struggling," Bowness said. "I'm in the fortunate position that Monty was an excellent coach. He's got this team playing very well." 

Bowness said the team was surprised to learn of Montgomery's firing but said they will still perform well. Nill said he believes the players will "get over this." 

"It's a bump in the road. They're going to digest this and we'll move forward from there," Nill said. 

The Stars play the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night in Dallas. The Stars are fourth in the Central Division. 

Full Dallas Stars statement: 

"The Dallas Stars expect all of our employees to act with integrity and exhibit professional behavior while working for and representing our organization. This decision was made due to unprofessional conduct inconsistent with the core values and beliefs of the Dallas Stars and the National Hockey League."

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