There's an old saying that goes "if you can't beat them, join them."
Jay Feaster actually did beat the Calgary Flames
-- presiding over a seven-game Stanley Cup Final victory as general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning
back in 2004 -- and on Thursday he officially joined the organization as an assistant general manager to Darryl Sutter
"My role, as I understand it, will be to provide my thoughts and my perspective, to counsel, to advise, to give my take on things and be an information resource for Darryl," Feaster said during a conference call to announce his hiring.
Feaster, 47, has built an impressive resume in hockey that includes winning a Calder Cup as president of the Hershey Bears, being named the AHL's Executive of the Year, leading the Lightning to the franchise's first and only championship and being named the Sporting News NHL Executive of the Year based on a vote of other NHL general managers and executives.
Hired by Tampa on Feb. 10, 2002, he helped guide the Lightning to Southeast Division titles in the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons.
"Basically what I was looking for is a partner in hockey and the search wasn't very long and quite honestly the process after talking to Jay didn't take very long," Sutter said. "I'm thrilled he's joining us. Obviously he's an old enemy, if some of you remember from the '04 Stanley Cup Final. He's a guy I respect a lot, I respect his input and knowledge of game, and I'm really looking forward to working with him."
After his tenure with the Lightning, an assistant general manager job wasn't exactly what Feaster envisioned for his future, but when Sutter came calling he realized the Flames' job was the right fit.
"I received call from Darryl back during the Stanley Cup Final," Feaster said. "He expressed to me he was looking to add some experience in the hockey operations department and asked if I would be interested, and specifically if I'd be interested in being an assistant GM again. I told him that there were not many situations where I would think that's attractive, but certainly the opportunity to work with him and the Flames was attractive and that started the ball rolling."
Feaster traveled to Calgary during the Final to meet with Sutter, team president Ken King and owner Murray Edwards over a period of several days. He said negotiations went very smoothly, leading to a deal being finalized on Thursday.
"Everything that has transpired since that meeting has reinforced my belief in Darryl and the way he manages a hockey team," Feaster said. "I'm looking forward to working with him, working with the entire hockey operations department, being a resource and a fresh perspective."
Fielding a playful question from one media outlet in regards to his role in denying the Flames the Stanley Cup back in 2004, Feaster joked, "I'm hopeful that with both the media and Flames fans, we can move forward on things."