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An off-day in the life of Adam Lowry

Jets forward provides a glimpse of time on the road for an NHL player

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

VANCOUVER -- A long lunchtime line at Chipotle Mexican Grill is not news anywhere.

Winnipeg Jets forward Adam Lowry stood patiently in one this week, unapproached and unbothered, a glimpse into a normal day that NHL players have.

While waiting for and then eating his burrito, Lowry blended easily into the holiday-time hustle and bustle of downtown Vancouver.

"In most cities, not that unusual," Lowry said. "I'm tall (6-foot-5), but I'm not that recognizable. When I lived with [Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba] in Winnipeg, I used to be their professional photographer. I would take the photos because everyone wanted pictures with them wherever we went."

Lowry, the 67th pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, is in third NHL season. He has seven goals and two assists in 36 games, but the 23-year-old center is more of a worker-bee member of the Jets than one of their elite scorers.

A scheduling rarity had the Jets playing consecutive road games at the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday and Thursday, and Lowry agreed to give NHL.com access to his off-day, allowing a glimpse into a Wednesday away from bright lights and intensity of NHL competition.

 

MORNING

After the Jets lost 4-1 at Rogers Arena on Tuesday, Lowry awoke around 8 a.m. and went for a short walk. He prefers the fresh air to coffee.

"A lot of the guys are big coffee drinkers, but not me," said Lowry, who then met his parents, Elaine and Dave, who played 19 seasons in the NHL with five teams and now is the coach of Victoria of the Western Hockey League, for breakfast at the Jets' downtown hotel.

After he arrived at Rogers Arena ahead of the noon practice, there was a stretch, meetings and video sessions before going on the ice.

Video: FLA@WPG: Lowry sticks with a rebound and scores

"It's not too often we're staying in the same city for a practice, never mind playing two games in row in a city like this," Lowry said. "We go over video from the previous game so we could refine some things, see how we could do things better against them. [It's helpful] to do that before practice so you're aware of that whole mentality of how you'd like it to go."

 

AFTERNOON

The practice lasts about 40 minutes and then there are two interviews in the locker room. That routine felt a little odd, he said.

"We haven't had a lot of practices this year," he said. "In the last few days it's almost strange that we've had a few practices because we had no practices for a month. Not one."

That was a byproduct of the Jets playing 32 games in the first 60 days of their season.

"We're changing time zones all the time," he said.

Lowry showered, changed and then left with his father and his uncle, Neil, who watched practice. Lowry thought they were going for lunch, but then learned he wasn't the most popular member of the Lowry family.

"My dad is now a grandpa (Lowry's sister, Sarah, has a 4-month-old son, Lawson), and he was more worried about getting out to Coquitlam [British Columbia] today to see his new grandson, so he and my uncle just dropped me off downtown," Lowry said. "I guess I got ditched."

There's no need for concern about the lack of attention.

The Lowry family is close, and hockey has been an integral part of their lives.

Dave Lowry's NHL career lasted from 1985 to 2004 and included 1,084 regular-season games. He's now in his fifth season with Victoria, and coached Canada at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship.

While there's plenty of hockey talk between father and son, Adam said it never feels like a coach-player relationship. He said it's the same for his older brother, Joel, 25, who was picked 140th by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2011 draft and plays for Ontario, the Kings' American Hockey League affiliate.

"I think everyone kind of overanalyzes it because he's a coach and because he was an NHL player, that it would be hard to have him as a coach or dad," Adam said. "He says, 'You have a coach. You don't need me to tell you how to play.'

"He may see something in my game, but if I'm playing well he leaves me alone. If I'm struggling a bit he points out a few things … but it's never telling me what to do.

"I talked to him after Tuesday's game and it wasn't a terrific game for me or us by any means. But he's honest. I can always trust what he's going to say. He never sugar coats it and he's never an ass about it."

Sharing those family interactions, Lowry then smiled.

"We always joke that my mom was harder on us about working hard," Lowry said. "She's kind of the fitness freak of our family."

Lowry's mother, Elaine, is a personal trainer whose resume includes a few ironman competitions and more than 20 marathons, including the Boston Marathon.

"People see my dad in the rinks and they get kind of intimidated," Adam said. "But I always say if I have a bad game I have to deal with my mom. She'll know I wasn't working hard enough and she's fitter than I am so what can I say to that? She taught three spin classes in a day and ran 15 miles and will go for a swim later, and I wasn't able to work hard for an hour? So she's probably right."

Video: WPG@BOS: Lowry knocks down Laine's shot and scores

When lunch with his father and uncle didn't pan out Wednesday, Lowry was dropped near Chipotle downtown, then walked back to the hotel when he was finished.

Having all his Christmas shopping done, he decided a nap was a good idea.

"A lot of guys lean toward naps," he said. "People think when you have an off-day in a city like this you'd want to go see the city. But we think of it as finally having a break, some down time, and we're not traveling today so there's a good bed and a great room in this hotel. So you might go for a short walk, see a little bit, then you go up to your room and lay down for a while before dinner."

 

EVENING

On the road it's common that groups of teammates meet and go to dinner somewhere nearby.

On this evening Lowry was not with his teammates. He hopped on the SkyTrain and met up with his family at his sister's home in Coquitlam, where his mother was making dinner.

"Ate dinner, played cards with everybody for a while, then I was back to the hotel by about 10 and asleep by 11:30," he said.

Lowry said proper rest is essential and it paid off. The Jets had more energy in their 4-1 win against the Canucks on Thursday. Lowry played 19 shifts totaling 14:54 of ice time and had an effective game centering the third line with Joel Armia and Shawn Matthias.

Video: Ehlers, Hutchinson lead Jets to 4-1 win in Vancouver

Looking back at the off-day, Lowry said it was as uneventful as they come.

He knows it's not always so.

"When I'm at home in Winnipeg, usually if I'm at the mall there will be one or two people who recognize me, ask for a picture," he said. "The other day I ran into a guy who had my Heritage Classic jersey, one of the game-worn ones, and he came up to me to tell me how excited he was about it.

"Sometimes you'll be in the grocery store and someone will stop and ask for a picture and say, 'Oh, my son's going to be so jealous because he loves you guys.' Things like that are pretty cool."

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