Oilers to Retire Kevin Lowe’s No. 4

It was announced that the Edmonton Oilers will cement the legacy of a retired defenceman that helped them to win five Stanley Cups. Kevin Lowe‘s No. 4 will be raised to the rafters on November 5, before the New York Rangers take on the Oilers at Rogers Place. The mark left on the city of Edmonton by Lowe is greater than just on the ice. He was a leader on and off the ice, not only with his teammates but with the community.

Drafted 21st overall by the Oilers in 1979, Lowe had an immediate impact on his team. He was the team’s very first draft pick and scored their first goal as a franchise in the NHL.

He never once played a game in the minors while lacing them up for 1254 games in the NHL over 19 seasons. His career was split between two teams, the Oilers and the Rangers, but he will always be remembered as an Oiler. Lowe is a six-time Stanley Cup winner, six-time all-star, and a King Clancy Memorial Trophy winner as well.

Impact on the Ice

Lowe played in 1037 games for the Oilers in the regular season alone, recording 383 points in the process. This wasn’t what he was best known for, as he was a staple defensively. He finished his Oilers career with a 240 plus/minus. Combine that with his plus 20 for the Rangers, and it is good for 37th all-time. Lowe played 15 seasons for the Oilers and finished second in points from a defenceman, enough to earn him a Hall of Fame career.

He was a part of every Stanley Cup win in franchise history. He raised the Cup in 1983-84, 1984-85, 1986-87, 1987-88, and 1989-90 with an Oilers crest on the front. Lowe played in 172 playoff games for the Oilers, recording 52 points and a plus-43. He had a certain touch in the 1986-87 playoff run to the Cup, scoring both of his goals in that postseason shorthanded, with one of them being the game-winner. It was the only shorthanded or game-winning goal he ever recorded in his playoff career.

Kevin Lowe Grant Fuhr Edmonton Oilers
Kevin Lowe and Grant Fuhr, Edmonton Oilers, 1987-88 season. (Gord Rufh/The Hockey Writers)

He amassed the most regular-season games (1037) and playoff games played (172) for the Oilers in franchise history. Despite doing so much for his team during his time with the Oilers, he still didn’t believe he should be a Hall of Famer.

“The Edmonton Oilers are not what they became without Kevin Lowe. He was the adult in the room. One of the most competitive players I have ever played with and demanded players give more through his own sheer determination.”

(Messier, 2020, per Mark Spector)

Lowe served as team captain for the 1991-92 season after Messier had gone to the Rangers, his last with the Oilers until later in his career. A season that saw the Oilers finish sixth in the former Clarence Campbell conference with 82 points in 80 games. In his entire 19 year career, his team only missed the playoffs once. It was his first season with his new team.

Contributions off the Ice

Winner of the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, Lowe was the third player ever awarded this honour in 1990. A man that was very busy already with his hockey career and being a part of the NHLPA, he managed to make time for his community. He was named honorary Chairman of the Edmonton City Christmas Bureau. This targets people in need in the city of Edmonton to promote the spirit of Christmas caring and sharing. Lowe believed that it was his responsibility to see a duty to see a task to completion, as it was his goal (‘Kevin Lowe the player: ‘If I don’t practice hard, I could lose my job'”, Edmonton Journal, June 12, 2014). This mindset is what helped him excel off of the ice with his teammates and everyone around him.

After the initial group of Oilers were inducted into the Hall of Fame and then had their jerseys hung in the rafters, it almost seemed like Lowe was going to be the odd man out. You can’t look past all that he did for the franchise and how integral of a player he was to the success of the Oilers’ dynasty of the ’80s. His number deserves to be up there with the rest of the greats to play for the Oilers, and soon enough, it will be.


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