The old saying goes third time’s the charm. In the case of Kevin Lowe and the Hockey Hall of Fame, it was 19th time the charm as Lowe was inducted into the 2020 class of the Hockey Hall of Fame in his 19th year of eligibility.
A product of Lachute, Quebec, Lowe was the first round pick of the Edmonton Oilers in the 1979 NHL Draft. Debuting for the club the following season, he would go on to play 19 seasons in the NHL – 15 with Edmonton and four with the New York Rangers – and have great post-season success.
Hockey Hall of Fame chairman Lanny McDonald, a long-time rival of Lowe’s with the Calgary Flames throughout the 1980s, may have summed up Lowe’s career most succinctly on the media conference call: “You only won six Stanley Cups, you selfish rascal, you.”
Lowe’s name is engraved six times on the Stanley Cup: 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990 and 1994. In the history of the trophy, only nine players have won it more than Lowe – seven are waiting for him in the Hall of Fame.
“I grew up in the province of Quebec in the shadows of the Montreal Canadiens and grew up seeing them playing for Stanley Cup and it always my dream to win a Stanley Cup,” said Lowe on the media call. “Never dreamt of the Hall of Fame. I guess I should’ve expanded my dreams. I feel blessed. I’m really excited.”
Among inducted defenders, Lowe is a bit of an oddity. Never a huge offensive powerhouse, he was entrusted with significant defensive responsibilities. He joked that his job was to come onto the ice after Paul Coffey played 1:50 of a power play, he would do a great job in the last 10 seconds. His biggest offensive season was 46 points in 1983-84 and his highest finish in the Norris voting was fifth in 1987-88. Yet on a team defined by dazzling offensive prowess, Lowe’s defensive conscience was the steady presence that enabled his teammates to dangle so deftly.
“The goal is always just about winning… we as players all did our part to try to get to the win.” Looking for a niche on a team that already had a dazzling offensive defender in Paul Coffey, Lowe committed himself to the other aspects of his game – to great success.
“Richly deserved,” declared McDonald, “Even if you were an Oiler all that time.”