Returning from what should have been a career-ending injury, Roberts returned to the ice, largely on the basis of an extensive commitment to workouts and physical training. Since his retirement from hockey in 2009, Roberts has remained active, sharing the knowledge of his experience.
From a modest beginning, acting as an off-ice mentor to Steven Stamkos, the growth of the Gary Roberts High Performance Centre in Toronto now finds more than 100 aspiring or current professional hockey players on site during the summer.
The success has been built, in part, on a team concept that includes an important Sudbury component. Massage therapist Tony Scott is a native of Naughton, a track star in his high school days who trained locally with the Track North Athletic Club in the 1990s.
With career-related stints with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Blue Jays, as well as his current commitments to both the Roberts Centre and Project Athletics on his resume, Scott has carved a niche in working closely with elite athletes.
Earlier this month, Scott was in Sudbury, addressing athletes and physio students for the Track North crew at Laurentian University. With the whole "personal training" rage that is being seen in both the hockey market and sports in general, Scott is quick to distinguish where his work fits into the grand scheme of things.
"My treatments are designed to work hand-in-hand with the workouts," he said. "I will do the soft tissue stuff, but I'm more of a corrective exercise specialist in the program versus a strength and conditioning guy.
"There is a huge difference between a personal trainer and a guy like myself, that focuses more on what's working and how it's working, versus how much they're lifting." Scott explained.
He has come a long way from what was truthfully a fairly simple beginning.
Following his graduation from high school, Scott enrolled in the Canadian College of Massage and Hydrotherapy. After his first year of studies, in the spring of 1996, he worked hand-in-hand with Robert Esmie as the local tracksters developed a friendship that helped, in part, pave the way for Olympic glory later that summer.
By the time he was a certified massage therapists, Scott cold-called one of hockey's most storied franchises.
"There was no massage therapist with the Maple Leafs, so I put together my bio and phoned the trainer and it kind of just took off from there," he explained.
To his credit, Scott has never stopped learning. His work with both the young prospects who frequent the workout rooms with Gary Roberts as well as with his own eight-year-old son, an aspiring AAA player, has seen Scott expand the scope of his training knowledge.
"I've done some research in what is being done in Europe with kids in that eight to13 bracket," Scott said. "You're focusing on training movements, not muscles. I want the kids to learn how to warm up properly.
"I want dynamic movements done properly. That's the kindergarten phase, so that by the time they reach our program, they're not spending a summer with no weight on the bar, teaching them how to do something properly.
"I think that's going to be the evolution of sport."
With more and more emphasis on elite level athletics at an early age, Scott is among the countless who believe that parental involvement is key.
"Even as a parent, there are simple things," he said. "What time does the athlete go to bed? Do you put water in their lunch? Who are you asking to work with your child? All of this should fall back on the parent."
For those athletes who work out alongside Roberts and company, parental oversight is rare. And while the face of the Gary Roberts High Performance Centre garners much of the accolades for the work being done by his group, Scott has no issue with being a cog in the wheel.
"In a successful organization, you have to understand what your role is," he said. "My role there is to be involved with the speed and agility program, to do massage therapy, to communicate with corrective exercise. Gary is constantly asking for feedback.
"It's fun to hear that someone can deadlift 500 pounds, but I want to know that they can deadlift 500 pounds and progress from it, not have ramifications from the lift."
The pride that he senses in the work being done by the Roberts group is one that Scott also conveys towards the local track club that gave him his start.
"I think the reason why I am still so attracted to this club, and why I still look up to Dick (Moss) so much, is simply that he is a coach who will go out of his way to find out what the 'correct' movement/training/whatever is," Scott said.
"He'll bring in a physio, he'll research it himself and he'll integrate it into his programs."
It is a search for knowledge that is shared, quite obviously, by Moss and Scott alike.