The distinctions continue to roll in for Edmonton Oilers fixture Kevin Lowe.
On Friday, the former Oilers defenceman, coach and general manager, and current Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG) Vice Chair, was announced as one of three Distinguished Honourees of the Order of Hockey in Canada for 2021.
The Order is a Hockey Canada initiative that celebrates individuals for their outstanding contributions or service to the growth and development of the sport of hockey in Canada.
Former Hockey Canada president Bill Hay and Angela James, a four-time IIHF World Women’s Championship gold medalist with the Canadian national women’s team, round out this year’s class.
Headed to the Hall
The distinction from Hockey Canada comes only months after Lowe’s inclusion in the 2020 Hockey Hall of Fame class, along with Jarome Iginla, Marian Hossa, Kim St-Pierre, Doug Wilson, and current Oilers’ GM Ken Holland, announced last June. Last year’s Hall of Fame ceremony was canceled because of the pandemic, and the class of 2020 will now be enshrined this coming November in place of a 2021 class.
While Lowe is being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the player category, the Order of Hockey in Canada highlights his international accomplishments, the greatest which have come off the ice.
Lowe was part of the management group for the Canadian men’s hockey team at four Olympic Winter Games, including the gold medalists in 2002, 2010, and 2014. Lowe also served as the assistant executive director for the Canadian team that won the World Cup of Hockey in 2004, and he was Canada’s GM at the 2012 IIHF World Championship.
As a player representing Canada, Lowe captured a bronze medal at the 1982 IIHF World Championship and won the Canada Cup in 1984.
Lowe played in the National Hockey League from 1979 to 1998, recording 84 goals and 347 assists in 1,254 career games. He was a member of all five Oilers’ Stanley Cup-winning teams (1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990) and added a sixth ring as a member of the 1994 Stanley Cup champion New York Rangers.
The Lachute, Que., native appeared in six All-Star Games (1984, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993), and in 1990, he won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for leadership and humanitarian contribution.
An essential thread in the fabric of Oilers history, Lowe was Edmonton’s first-ever NHL draft pick (21st overall in 1979), scored the team’s first NHL regular-season goal, and is the all-time franchise leader in games played, both for the regular season (1,037) and playoffs (172). He served as Oilers captain in 1991-92.
Following his retirement in 1998, Lowe joined the Oilers’ coaching staff as an assistant for the 1998-99 season and was promoted to head coach for 1999-00 before moving upstairs to become general manager. He held that post from 2000 to 2008, a tenure that included Edmonton’s run to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final in 2006.
Time to Raise No. 4 to the Rafters?
On the heels of Lowe’s Hall of Fame election, this latest honour will only further intensify the long-running debate about whether the Oilers should retire his No. 4. Since Al Hamilton had his No. 3 retired in 1980, the honour has been reserved exclusively for Hall-of-Famers, a club Lowe is now part of.
Lowe joins Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and Ryan Smyth as former Oilers players to enter the Order of Hockey in Canada, which was founded in 2012 and now includes 33 members. Other members of the Order with Oilers connections include OEG CEO Bob Nicholson and the late Pat Quinn, who coached Edmonton for the 2009-10 season.
The 2021 Distinguished Honourees will be recognized in June at the annual Hockey Canada Foundation Gala & Golf, alongside the Class of 2020, who had their event canceled last year because of the pandemic.
Brian is an Edmonton-based sports writer and broadcaster. His experience includes working as a sports reporter for the Edmonton Sun, where he covered the Edmonton Oil Kings 2013-14 Memorial Cup championship season.