Former Bison men’s hockey player and coach Bob Lowes was inducted into the Bison hockey hall of fame on Wednesday.
Currently with the Vegas Golden Knights as the assistant director of player personnel, Lowes got his start at the University of Manitoba in 1985. Lowes played with the Bisons until 1989 and served as assistant coach in the 1987-88 season when he was injured.
Born in Prince Albert, Sask., Lowes was recruited by Bison legend Wayne Fleming to come out and play in Manitoba.
“I went there not knowing anybody. Wayne had recruited me from Saskatchewan and in those days, you didn’t really travel very far for school you just went to your home province or somewhere close to your home,” Lowes said.
Lowes and Fleming formed an immediate connection, and Fleming made good on everything he said he could do for Lowes.
“I believed in Wayne. He was a coach that I wanted to play for,” he said. “We had a rapport right away from the first time we met. I knew I could trust him, he was bang on with everything that he said he could do for me.”
When Lowes was out with a back injury he took a spot behind the bench, and from that vantage point learned a lot from Fleming as the two forged a deeper friendship. Fleming knew Lowes planned to become a coach after he was done playing.
In 1989 Lowes graduated from the U of M with a bachelor of recreation and took a head coaching gig with the Nipawan Hawks of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL). The Hawks won the SJHL championship and ANAVET Cup in 1990.
Lowes then spent time with Seattle in the Western Hockey League (WHL) as an assistant coach, before then taking the head coaching job for the Brandon Wheat Kings from 1992-2001. He won the WHL and Canadian Hockey League (CHL) coach of the year in 1996. Lowes jumped over the border to coach the Regina Pats from 2001-2004, again winning the CHL and WHL coach of the year award in 2002. Lowes came back to Brandon in 2005 as an amateur scout, and moved to the Ottawa Senators as an amateur scout from 2007-2014. He was director of amateur scouting in Ottawa until 2016, before moving to Vegas in 2017.
Lowes said learning from Fleming during his time at Manitoba was huge, as Fleming showed him a different side of hockey.
“I think the biggest thing Wayne taught me was there was more to the game, more analytics of the game,” he said. “He got me to start thinking like a coach.”
Lowes said he feels fortunate to have done something within hockey as a career.
“I think we become involved in the game because we love the game,” he said “To do something you love for a vocation, I think it’s that much more of a bonus so I look at that all the time and I’m very blessed.”
Being inducted into the Bison hockey hall of fame has a special meaning for Lowes.
“To have that legacy up on a plaque in an arena that’s named after Wayne, I’m very honoured,” he said.