DENVER — The Dallas Stars reached into the collegiate ranks to find their new head coach.

It’s a strategy that’s certainly working out well in Philadelphia.

The Stars will hire Jim Montgomery as their next coach, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Wednesday. Montgomery played four seasons for UMaine (1989-93) and won a national title in his senior season.

Montgomery will take over for Ken Hitchcock, who retired last month and will become a consultant for the Stars. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the hiring had not been announced.

Montgomery, the coach at Denver, is the second college-to-NHL hire in the past three years, following the Flyers’ Dave Hakstol in 2015. Hakstol was considered one of the premier college coaches at North Dakota before making the switch. The Flyers have gone to the playoffs in two of the three seasons Hakstol has been in charge.

Dallas is banking on a similar showing under the 48-year-old Montgomery, who spent five seasons in charge of the Pioneers and led them to a national title in 2016-17. He finished 125-57-26 at a university well known for its hockey and lacrosse programs.

Montgomery inherits a Dallas squad led by Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. The Stars are coming off a season in which they missed the playoffs for the eighth time in 10 seasons. Hitchcock returned for just a season before hanging it up. He’s the only coach to lead the team to a Stanley Cup title.

CAPITALS: The NHL suspended forward Tom Wilson three games for an illegal hit on Pittsburgh’s Zach Aston-Reese.

Wilson broke Aston-Reese’s jaw with a violent collision near the Washington bench in the second period of Tuesday night.

AVALANCHE: Colorado signed goaltender Pavel Francouz of the Czech Republic to a one-year deal.

Francouz, 27, played the last three seasons in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League as a member of Traktor Chelyabinsk. He went 15-11-5 with a 1.80 goals-against average in 2017-18.

SABRES: Buffalo re-signed defenseman Casey Nelson to a two-year contract worth $1.625 million.

Nelson, 25, had been eligible to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Nelson had a career-best season in which he scored three goals and added five assists in 37 games with the Sabres.


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