The Western Hockey League announced Wednesday that Winnipeg Jets prospect Adam Lowry of the Swift Current Broncos was named the 2012-13 WHL Player of the Year and the recipient of the Four Broncos Memorial Trophy. Lowry has played four seasons in the WHL, scoring 90 goals and accumulated a total of 204 points in 235 regular-season games.
“It’s a special day for my family and I to be recognized as the most outstanding player in the entire Western League,” Lowry said Wednesday from Calgary. “It’s a really special feeling. Coming from Swift Current, with the award meaning so much by being named after four Broncos that passed away 26 years ago. It has added importance to not only me, but to the Swift Current organization and the community as well. I was thrilled when I was nominated and was thrilled when I won it today.”
Winnipeg drafted Lowry in the third round, 67th overall, in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. The Calgary, Alberta native enjoyed an outstanding season with the Broncos, appearing in all 72 games while scoring a team-leading 45 goals and 43 assists for 88 points.
His stellar performance helped lift his club into the WHL playoffs for the first time since the 2009-10 season. Lowry had a team-leading five points (3G, 2A) and four penalty minutes before the Broncos were eliminated in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals.
“It was nice to get back in the playoffs and to feel that buzz around the community again and to feel how excited they were to see playoff hockey,” he said. “Unfortunately, we were only able to get to Game 5 but I think the series was a lot closer than the five games.”
To top that, Lowry also made his professional debut appearing in nine games for the St. John’s IceCaps this season and later signed an entry-level professional contract with the Jets.
“It was a good experience to get my first taste of pro hockey,” said Lowry. “I was glad I was able to get in there and play nine games. I think it will really benefit me for next year just knowing what to expect. You can never tell what it’s going to be like until you play those games. I thought the biggest difference from junior was getting to the net and through the d-men, they are even bigger than in the Western League.”
The 6'5", 201-pound forward attributes a lot of his on-ice success this season to his line mates and to switching from the wing to centre, where he scored 43 of his 45 goals.
“Once I switched to centre it really opened up the ice for me,” he explained. “A lot of my points I would have to attribute to my line mates and a couple of d-men, they really opened up the ice for me and allowed me to get in the right spots at the right times to score some timely goals.”
Lowry will attend the Jets’ development camp this summer and the team’s training camp next fall. He’s well aware of the opportunity in front of him and the work he’ll need to put in to make the leap.
“I’m really happy with the way things went this year and look forward to the opportunities next year. I need to work hard and try to get stronger and do some of the things that I did last summer because I feel it put me in the right direction to become a successful hockey player.
“I know I’m going to have to fill out my frame more, being a bigger guy. At the pro level you need to be strong and need to be heavy on your feet and hard to move off the puck. I’ll continue to work on that and get better every day.”
Lowry, son of former NHLer Dave Lowry, couldn’t say enough about the impact his father has had on his hockey career and sees it as a huge advantage moving forward.
“He’s had a major influence,” said Lowry. “Just being able to look up to him and see how hard he had to work to stay a pro for as long as he did. He offers great advice. He has been instrumental in helping me grow not only as a person but as a player as well.”
Lowry is the WHL nominee for CHL Player of the Year, which will be presented at the 2013 Canadian Hockey League Awards during the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup in Saskatoon, SK, later in May.