Lowry dun got robbed

SCOTT FISHER

, Last Updated: 9:02 AM ET

The WHL coaching fraternity is an Old Boys Club.

And it proved Thursday it doesn't deserve to vote on league awards.

Eastern Conference coaches and GMs voted on the coach of the year earlier this month.

The results were released Thursday.

Hitmen rookie bench boss Dave Lowry guided his team to the second-best record in league history.

You'd think being selected coach of the year for the conference -- if not the entire country -- would be a no-brainer.

You'd be mistaken.

Saskatoon Blades GM/coach Lorne Molleken, whose team finished 19 points behind the Hitmen, was the nominee.

The results are a sham.

The message being sent? 'Nice season, Dave. Come back and talk to us after you've been around the block a few times.'

There's something to be said for paying your dues. And Molleken has certainly done that during five roller-coaster seasons in Saskatoon.

His guided the Blades to a fantastic season that saw the club tie the WHL record with 28 road victories (the Hitmen won 27 away from the Dome).

The Old Boys Club will defend their voting tactics based on improvement -- the Blades were 35 points better than last year's edition, which missed the playoffs.

But that's not enough.

Last year's Hitmen squad finished atop the Eastern Conference with 99 points.

But despite losing the best defenceman in junior hockey (Karl Alzner) and three of their top four scorers, this year's squad somehow managed a 23-point improvement and re-wrote the franchise record book along the way.

Lowry quickly brought together what was supposed to be a rebuilding squad and turned it into a powerhouse the likes of which the league hasn't seen in 30 years.

He was the hands-down favourite to win coach of the year honours not just in the WHL, but the entire WHL.

That's no longer possible after he was snubbed by his Eastern Conference peers.

When the list of conference finalists was released Thursday, one had to wonder if April Fool's Day had come a few weeks early.

Surely, there was some mistake. Hitmen goaltender Martin Jones summed up the thoughts shared by many of his teammates.

"It bothered me a little bit," Jones said. "I was choked because Dave's been awesome all year. But he doesn't need an award to say that he's a great coach."

That was Lowry's approach, too. With the playoffs underway, he's got bigger fish to fry.

And it's not like the Hitmen -- with six players voted to the all-star teams, and finalists in both top defenceman (Paul Postma) and top executive (Kelly Kisio) -- can stand up on a soapbox and cry foul.

That would be like a sumo wrestler screaming for seconds at a soup kitchen.

Clearly, they've received recognition for their magical season. But that doesn't excuse this injustice.

No disrespect to Molleken, who deserves kudos for a job well done is Saskatoon.

But Lowry is the top coach in the CHL.

That the history books won't reflect that is a shame.


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