TAMPA BAY, Fla. — Stacy Roest recorded 72 points in 70 games for the Grand Rapids Griffins in the 2002-03 season after three years in the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings and Minnesota Wild.
"I needed that year in Grand Rapids, I played a ton and played on a great team," Roest recalled. "We lost in the semifinals but it kind of reset my career. I went to Switzerland for the next nine years, it reset my career and allowed me to play in every situation and put up numbers, we loved it there, had a great time."
Roest retired from hockey in 2012 after a successful career in the NLA in Switzerland. That's when a former high-profile teammate of his offered him an opportunity.
"I was fortunate enough to play with Steve Yzerman and after I retired, I started as a scout in the area out here out west, and then took over as director of player of development," Roest added.
Yzerman had become a friend and mentor to Roest as he continued to work his way up throughout the Tampa Bay Lightning organization.
Their closeness made Yzerman's departure and decision to step down in 2018 a very difficult one on his former teammate.
"It was super tough because I always looked up to Steve," Roest explained, "he's done so much for me and he's such a great guy and good friend. I really appreciate everything he's done for me to get back into the game, ultimately the position I'm in now wouldn't happen without him."
In 2019, Roest was promoted within the Lightning organization as general manager of the Syracuse Crunch in the American Hockey League and assistant general manager of the Lightning on top of director of player development.
He's now been a major part of back-to-back Stanley Cup titles.
"As a player you'd always like to win one and it didn't happen for me, but fortunate enough to work in management now and it's so rewarding, so much goes into it, you spend a lot of time on the road and away from your family."
The 47-year-old Alberta, Canada native says it's not easy making certain decisions throughout the season but to hoist another trophy makes it all worth it.
"You're second-guessing yourself on some decisions as the players are coming up and to see it all work out and win two cups in a row, obviously winning one last year in the bubble was super challenging but the players did a great job."
So the question remains with how much he looks up to Steve Yzerman, is there a chance he someday makes the jump to the Red Wings organization?
"I'm happy with where I'm at," Roest added, smiling, "I'll keep working for Tampa as long as I have a contract and as long as they want me, but if things come up you re-evaluate what's best for you and your family."
He becomes the second former Grand Rapids Griffin to win two Stanley Cups in any capacity, joining former forward Tomas Kopecky.