As the clock wound down in the dying seconds Monday, Sept. 28, at Edmonton’s Rogers Place, Coldstream’s Stacy Roest was glad his team had a two-goal lead.
And when the buzzer went off, and Roest’s Tampa Bay Lightning had scored a 2-0 decision over the Dallas Stars to win the Lightning’s second Stanley Cup in franchise history, the two months away from home in bubbles in Toronto and Edmonton for the NHL’s playoff tournament, and the tons of work he’d put in as the Lightning’s assistant general manager, was all worth it for the Lethbridge, Alta., native.
“It was very emotional,” said Roest, 46, at the Edmonton Airport Tuesday morning, heading home for a long overdue visit with his family.
“It was exciting. You’re feeling giddy, then you’re on the ice touching the Stanley Cup. I had about 250 text messages and calls. Then I went to bed because I had to get up and catch a plane.”
The first people he thought of when the Cup was handed to him on the ice were his wife, Billie, and kids Austin and Graci.
The Roests moved to Coldstream in 2001.
“For sure, my wife and two kids, they’ve been amazing,” said Roest. “I spend a lot of days travelling. I can’t wait to see them.”
After a four-year Western Hockey League career with the Medicine Hat Tigers, Roest went undrafted, signing as a free agent with the American Hockey League’s Adirondack Red Wings. He made his NHL debut with the Detroit Red Wings in 1998 and was a ‘black ace’ (healthy scratch) as Detroit swept the Washington Capitals in the Cup final, but Roest did not get his name on the Stanley Cup, nor did he collect a championship ring.
That all changed Monday night in Edmonton.
He played 244 NHL games with the Red Wings and Minnesota Wild, scoring 28 goals and adding 48 assists for 76 career regular-season points. Roest spent the final nine years of his pro career in Europe, toiling in Switzerland’s top league. He played for Canada seven times at the Spengler Cup Christmas tournament in Davos, Switzerland, twice being named team captain.
Roest joined the Bolts in July 2013 as director of player development, and he kept that position until May 2019, when he was promoted to become Tampa’s assistant general manager-director of player development, and general manager of the team’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch.
He’s had a hand in developing most of the Lightning’s current roster, including the likes of scoring stars Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, Anthony Cirelli, Yanni Gourde, Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson, and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, who recorded the Cup-clinching shutout.
Roest will be home in Vernon for a few days before returning to Tampa as the team prepares for the NHL Entry Draft Oct. 6-7.
“I’m looking forward to seeing my family, relaxing for a bit, then it’s back to work,” he said.
Whether Roest and the Lightning players, coaches and staff get to spend a day with the Stanley Cup, as per tradition, remains to be seen due to COVID-19 regulations.
Vernon’s Dennis Holland was hoping to add his name to the Stanley Cup, joining older brother Ken, whose name appears four times as an executive with the Detroit Red Wings.
Holland has spent the past 18 seasons as a scout with Dallas. The Stars were banged up over the last few games of the final with several regulars out of the lineup.
“Too many injuries at day’s end,” said Holland Monday night. “I’m sad, but I’m not disappointed.”
The Stars were also looking for their second Cup in franchise history.