On Monday, November 18th, Ken Lowe former Athletic Trainer with the Edmonton Oilers and PHATS Alumni member was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame PHATS/SPHEM Wall of Honor in Toronto! PHATS/SPHEM sat down with Ken to hear all about the weekend!
PS: Take us back to when you first got the call telling you that you were going to be inducted into the PHATS/SPHEM Wall of Honor, how did that feel?
KL: I will always remember it was late January when Chris phoned just around supper time here in Edmonton. I was quite taken back and overwhelmed. I had thought there might be a possibility down the road but was more hoping that my younger brother with 6 Stanley Cups would get in, especially with my mom?s failing health. She was so excited for me and made it known that since she could not travel, every other member of our family would be in Austin, Texas. They were, and as you know Natalie, mom suffered a stroke 4 days after we returned home and passed away 12 days later.
PS: What was your favorite part of the PHATS/SPHEM Hall of Fame Dinner?
KL: The whole thing! Seeing all my friends from those many years in the league and allowing my family to see how fortunate I was to work in an environment with so many great friends, also the job you,?Anita?and the rest of the girls did making my family feel so comfortable.
PS: Who joined you for the HOF Weekend?
KL: My wife Marianne and daughter Melissa, my brother Kevin whom went out of his way to make this a very special weekend for me and of course Barrie Stafford (my partner of 25 years). My oldest daughter Amanda, gave birth to our family?s first grandchild, 8 weeks premature and only 9 days after mom?s passing. She was unable to travel however baby and mother are doing well.
I also had 2 very close cousins whom live in the Toronto area along with my sister-in-law and her husband and? Kevin?s lovely daughter?Darby?whom is attending the University in Toronto.
PS: What were the first few days of the Hall of Fame Weekend like?
KL: It was exhausting! More because I had just been released from the hospital after 4 days and the next day we jumped on a plane to Toronto. Barrie took it upon himself to get me to as many events as possible. I really do not think I would have done as much if Barrie was not there. He is a very special friend!
We were down in the dressing room before the Legends game and then over to the hall. We were at the media lunch.
PS: Tell us about the Induction Ceremony?
KL: It was a thrill to be there and to chat with some of my former players (Rob Blake, Bill Gurin, Paul Coffey, Glen Anderson) to name a few but honestly to myself and family the greater honor was in Austin.
PS: What does it mean to you to be included in such a prestigious group?
KL: I have to be honest! I am overwhelmed to be included with the likes of?Larry Ashley,?Peter Demers,?Skip Thayer,?Tommy Woodcock?on the A/T side and?Eddy Palchak,?Lou Varga,?Ken Fleger?on the Equipment side. All of these individuals showed me an openness and friendship when I first came into the league that I have never forgotten.?
A very little note: The very first inductee,?Lefty Wilson,?made my first goaltender?s mask when I was 12 years old. My dad, myself and Kevin whom was only 7 at the time, went into the Red Wings dressing room one afternoon when they were playing in Montreal and Lefty made a mold of my face and took it back to Detroit to complete. I will always remember my younger brother putting on his favorite player?s sweater and gloves? (They were?Gordie Howe?s!?).??
PS: Besides the Induction on Monday, what was your favorite part of the weekend?
KL: I would have to say, supper with?Ryan Smyth, his wife Stacey and 2 of their lovely children on Saturday night. ?Ryan played in the Legends Classic on the Sunday before the induction, however he and his family had to head back to Nashville and could not stay for the induction ceremony. He phoned me a few weeks before the induction weekend and ask if he and Stacey could take my family out for supper that night. I had Ryan as an Oiler for many years and we were so honored!
PS: What advice would you give to our future Hall of Fame Inductees going into their induction weekend?
KL: Take Barrie Stafford with you, only kidding! Enjoy the time, suck in the excitement and get to as many events as possible. The media lunch is something that you should make time for. All the events are something for your whole family to enjoy since they endured the many nights and weekends when you were away on the many road trips.
P.S.: Mark Brennan (Peaches) 2010 inductee informed me to take a cloth. History has it you are supposed to dust down the last inductee inducted. Robert ?Rip? Simonick has a dustless plaque now!
Photos courtesy of Ken Lowe.