Kevin Lowe

Kevin Lowe was the original NHL Edmonton Oiler, drafted by Glen Sather in the first round of the 1979 Entry Draft, 21st overall. His play was a quiet force and a defensive genius on a dynasty that was known for outscoring the opposition.

Lowe had outstanding hockey sense and vision which game him a superior advantage by understanding the defensive breakdown of the oncoming attack. An agile though not fast skater, Lowe used his anticipation to relieve the opposition of the puck. He would then safely move the puck up to one of his many outstanding forwards. It is safe to say that the Oilers forwards couldn't have cheated offensively like they did if they didn't have a defensive stalwart like Lowe to break up plays and spring the forwards loose with great transitional passes.

A rugged but intelligent physical player, Lowe played with fire and determination, hating to lose. While he never got the recognition of that his Oiler or Ranger teammates did, he was without doubt an integral part of 6 Stanley Cup championships.

"Kevin was never getting the headlines or setting the records for scoring goals," said Oilers' GM Glen Sather. "He was the consummate team guy who helped keep everything together when things got a little bit scratchy."

While "Vish" didn't get the recognition he deserved from the media or fans, those on the ice knew just how great he was.

"In all those Islanders-Oilers games, I thought Kevin was the guy who really held the Oiler defense together," said former Islander Mike Bossy. "You always knew he would take somebody out of the play; he'd take a hit; he'd block a shot. He never played on the fringes."

Lowe, who married 1988 double bronze Canadian Olympic skier Karen Percy, played in seven NHL All-Star games. He joined Team Canada in their 1984 Canada Cup victory. A natural leader, he was the alternate captain for most of the Oilers' Dynasty, and became the Oilers' fifth Captain in the 1990-91 season. In 1254 regular season games he scored 84 goals and added 347 assists for 431 points. He played in 214 playoff contests, scoring 10 goals and 48 assists. Lowe has dressed for more games as an Oiler than anyone else.

In 1990 he was named the King Clancy trophy winner for his dedication to the game, and also won the Bud Man of the Year Award for his contributions to the community of Edmonton. He was particularly fond of the Edmonton Christmas Bureau and James Bell Sports Foundation.

Following his retirement as a player, Lowe returned to Edmonton, first serving as coach and later general manager, vice president and alternate governor. He also served beside old buddy Wayne Gretzky on the Team Canada management team for entries at the 2002 and 2006 Olympics and 2004 World Cup.

Lowe is the answer to a popular Edmonton trivia question too. He, not Wayne Gretzky, is known for scoring the Oilers' first NHL goal, a power play marker against Chicago goaltender Tony Esposito, on October 10, 1979.


Anonymous,  1:21 PM  

I wish Lowe would retire his number. Of course, it's not humble, but if he's not one of the best Oilers in history, he's certainly one of the three most important (besides Gretzky and Messier), because of all the things you'd mentioned.

My favourite kind of leader is the humble one that goes unrecognized for his contributions in winning the big prize. That's Kevin Lowe, who won more Stanley Cups than Gretzky, without one-tenth of the recognition. Had he won in 2006 as GM, he'll hold the record for the greatest number of Cups won by the Oilers.

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