Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Kevin Lowe Shares his Olympic Experience with Main Street

This article is in the April 2010 edition of Main Street and is reprinted here with the permission of the editors. Drop by to have a look at a great community newspaper. The photograph is from a article.

Main Street readers may be surprised to learn that our newspaper had a special correspondent at the 2010 Olympic Games, none other then Lachute's own Kevin Lowe. Due to Main Street's deadlines and a very busy schedule as President of the Edmonton Oilers, it took a few weeks to organize a conversation and share his thoughts with Main Street.

As part of the management team that selected the NHL players taking part in the Olympic hockey tournament, Lowe had a bird’s eye view for Sidney Crosby’s overtime goal that brought home the Gold medal for the men’s hockey team. A six-time Stanley Cup Champion as a player, my first question for Lowe was this; is it easier to be a player in the Finals or a Manager watching from stands?

“It is always easier to be involved in the games, in terms of the stress and the pressures of watching,” said Lowe. “When you are playing, you go out and you play your shift, you're tired and you are catching your breath on the bench. You are not as stressed - you can't be or else you can't perform. When you are watching, it is certainly more difficult.”

Although the managers for Team Canada were confident in their squad, there was certainly a sigh of relief when Crosby's goal slipped past American goaltender Ryan Miller for the 3-2 victory.

“There are no guarantees when going into overtime, but I knew that we were the better team,” Lowe observed. “Although, I wouldn't say it was by as wide a margin as I thought we had in the first game. Even though we lost that one, I think we were the better team; we out-chanced them by a fair amount. I still thought that in a 2-2 game, I didn't find the American team particularly dangerous but once you get into to overtime anything can happen.”

As the commentators on CTV pointed out after the final game, perhaps Sidney Crosby did not have the “greatest” tournament but he certainly had the “greatest” moment when Canada needed him, in the most important overtime of his young career.

“People can react in different ways when you get into overtime, you kind of bank on a guy like Crosby. The reason why great players are great is that they can prey on a moment. I don’t think there were any players on the ice that can shoot the puck the way that he did, that firmly, in that situation. Not being afraid of the moment but embracing it,” continued Lowe. “It was good for him because he is a great person and very deserving.”

As for his overall Olympic experience, Lowe was extremely pleased with the job that the organizers of the Vancouver Games did. Despite the tragic death of the Luger from Georgia, protests in the first few days of the Games and long lines as spectators waited to enter the Olympic venues, the city of Vancouver and our athletes represented our nation to the best of their abilities.

“It was a great event and the whole Olympics were just wonderful,” said Lowe. “It was by far the most enjoyable of the three that I have attended. It’s tough to tell when you are in a foreign country, like Italy (2006 Games), as to how the locals are perceiving it, but just based on the fan reaction and the people in the streets, people just couldn’t get enough of it. All the athletes, regardless of the sport, all wanted to do Canada proud, which was pretty special to see.”

The Vancouver Games were also a special time for the entire Lowe family; Kevin’s wife, Karen Percy-Lowe, won two Bronze medals at the Calgary Games in 1988 and having their three children get a glimpse of what her career was like, helped create memories that will last a lifetime.

“I think this year really solidified it for them, to have a real understanding and appreciation of what their Mom did,” Lowe said proudly. “It was really satisfying for Karen, for the kids to actually think that their Mom was the one that everyone was cheering for, not unlike Joannie Rochette and Alex Bilodeau. In '88 Canada won five medals and Karen had two of them.”
Much like the 1972 goal by Paul Henderson, the overtime winner by Crosby will have people talking for years to come; reminiscing about where they were when Canada brought home the Gold. Have a great sports day everyone.

The April 23rd edition of Main Street Week will have more of Kevin Lowe's thoughts on the Olympic hockey tournament. Still haven't signed up? Drop by and have Main Street Week delivered right to your inbox every Friday.

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