Dave Lowry Named Assistant Coach
Former Winnipeg interim head coach joins with deep experience as NHL assistant, WHL head coach and 19 years as an NHL player, including one expansion-team season
by Bob Condor / @ByBobCondor / nhl.com/kraken
In a summer front-loaded with fortifying the player roster, the Kraken added to the coaching staff Monday, announcing Dave Lowry as an assistant coach. Lowry was interim head coach for the Winnipeg Jets last season, taking over for Paul Maurice in mid-December. He notched six previous seasons as an NHL assistant coach with Calgary, Los Angeles and Winnipeg.
“Dave brings experience to our coaching staff,” said Kraken GM Ron Francis. “He had a long and successful NHL playing career and has significant coaching experience at the NHL and junior ranks. Dave will be a valuable addition to Dave Hakstol’s staff.”
Lowry joins Hakstol, assistant coaches Jay Leach and Paul McFarland and new goalie coach Steve Briere for Seattle’s second season. After a long NHL playing career (1,084 regular season games, 111 playoff appearances), Lowry, 57, started his coaching career with the Western Hockey League Calgary Hitmen as assistant coach for the 2005-06.
“I’m super excited for the new opportunity,” said Lowry during an exclusive phone conversation Monday. “It’s a new chapter. It started with a simple phone call to Dave [Hakstol].”
The two Daves talked about a possible role in that first exploratory phone call made by Lowry, what type of person and coach Hakstol wanted to add to the group. Lowry said he hoped for the chance for another conversation. Hakstol called back for more than one conversation, which led to Monday’s news.
“From my end it seemed like a perfect fit,” said Lowry, who was clear he wasn’t “chasing every NHL job” for his next position and instead being more selective. “I am grateful to come in to work with Dave and his staff. I look forward to learning from them.”
Given Lowry’s formidable experience as a player and coach, it’s not a stretch to anticipate the Kraken’s newest assistant will have a message for players.
“You have to be excited about the additions [through free agency and the Oliver Bjorkstrand trade],” said Lowry, who coached against Seattle in the May 1 regular-season finale in Winnipeg. “But I believe the players sell their message. They have a really good understanding of where they are and where they’ve been and what they went through last year. They recognize how close they are. Now you welcome new players you hope pushes the level up even more.”
Lowry progressed to the Hitmen head coaching role for the 2007-08 season, winning a division title and making a deep playoff run with new free-agent signee goalie Martin Jones notching a franchise-record regular season in goal with a 45-5-4 record with a 2.08 goals-against average and .915 save percentage. Lowry left the next season for an assistant coach job with the NHL Flames while Jones led his WHL squad to the Eastern Conference championship.
Splicing together NHL assistant jobs with Calgary (three seasons, 2009-12), Los Angeles (two seasons, 2017-19) and Winnipeg (two seasons, 2020-22) with seven WHL head coaching seasons with the Calgary Hitmen, Victoria Royals and Brandon Wheat Kings, Lowry posted a winning 61.2 percentage in WHL regular-season games with a 303-155-37 record.
When Paul Maurice surprisingly resigned last December, the Jets were 13-11-5. Lowry and the Jets won four of the first six games after the coaching change and finished with a 22-20-6 record. One of Lowry’s main messages to the Jets players (which included son Adam who has appeared in 539 NHL regular-season games himself along with 39 postseason games) was to establish a more consistent and effective net-front presence in the offensive zone.
“We need pucks to get to the net and we need bodies to get to the net, and it’s no secret,” said Lowry to Jets writer Mitchell Clinton about 10 days into the interim stint. “We want to continue to use the net front as a starting point for our offense.
“It’s not always going to be the same guy that’s going to be designated to be the net-front guy. What we really want is drivers in our offense. We want guys that, once the puck enters the zone, we want guys that are going to get to that area. At the end of the day, the puck has to end up there to score goals.”
Maurice knows plenty about net-front presence and scoring as both coach and player. He starred for the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League as an elite juniors forward, notching 60 goals and 60 assists in his final OHL season in 61 regular-season contests plus another six goals and five assists in eight postseason games in 1984-85.
Drafted by Vancouver in 1983 (sixth round, 110th overall), Lowry is proof-case that players from all rounds can make the NHL. He debuted in 1985-86, scoring 10 goals and adding eight assists during his rookie season. He had two 19-goal seasons for St. Louis over five years with the Blues.
In summer of 1993, Lowry experienced an event that he has in common with many players on the Kraken roster. He was selected by the Florida Panthers in the 1993 NHL Expansion Draft. He compiled four straight double-digit goal seasons (twice scoring 15 goals and twice scoring 10) while playing his signature physical, two-way game.
Florida was 33-34-17 in its inaugural season but the highlight was the Panthers (41-31-10 in the regular season) making a run to the 1996 Stanley Cup Final. Lowry led Florida with 10 goals and seven assists during the playoffs, earning a local nickname as “Mr. Playoff.” After an early-season trade to San Jose during the 1997-98 seasons, Lowry played three seasons with the Sharks and finished his career with four NHL seasons in Calgary, where he was captain over three years.