Dad's some kind of year

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:03 AM ET

Some of the best hockey moments Dave Lowry has experienced this season have come away from the Saddledome.

Those are the times he can take off his coach's hat and root for son Joel as the midget Calgary Buffaloes march toward the Telus Cup.

Now that Joel and the Buffs have made the national championship, dad is probably too busy with the Calgary Hitmen's playoff charge to see the games.

"It's very exciting for him," Dave said about Joel's title hopes.

"I love going into a rink and being a fan, just watching. That's relaxing to me. It's nice to see your kids be successful.

"It's a long hard road to get here. They've had to win a lot of games to get to that right to go.

"Things have fallen into place. I'm happy for him and I'm happy for his team. He's always had to work to accomplish and be successful."

This is clearly an exciting time in the Lowry household.

Under coach Lowry, the Hitmen easily went through two playoff rounds without losing as much as a shift.

They face the Brandon Wheat Kings in the Eastern Conference final and have designs on the Memorial Cup in May.

The Buffs have equalled the impressive season. After winning the Mac's Midget Tournament over the holidays, the team has battled through the Alberta Midget Hockey League playoffs and then won a three-game series against the Vancouver Northwest Giants.

They open the Telus Cup next Monday in Selkirk, Man., while the Hitmen play Game 3 of their series with the Wheat Kings at Brandon Tuesday.

So nobody needs to tell Joel just how special this situation is, especially growing up watching his father play 111 NHL playoff games without sipping from the Stanley Cup.

"Even if only one team had a national title hope it would be pretty special," Joel said.

"When both teams do, it's amazing because neither of these chances come around very often.

"We have a good chance. We have a good goalie (Sam Brittain) who has held us in every game this year. As long as he keeps playing the way he has, we have a really good shot. We have a chance to win every single game."

Joel's WHL rights are held by the Hitmen's rival Red Deer Rebels, but the 17-year-old hasn't decided yet whether he will go the junior-A rout or try to get a scholarship with a U.S. college.

Wherever he goes, pops is mighty proud.

"For him, he wants to be a player," Dave said.

"Obviously, as a parent, you support them in what they want.

"Being an ex-player, I have to be careful not to push him into something he doesn't want to do.

"If he wants to be a player, you have to give him an opportunity and do whatever it takes to help him along the way, provided he takes the initiative and wants to take those steps."

Dave went to the Stanley Cup final twice, the first time in 1996 with the Florida Panthers when Joel was only four.

The second time was 2004 in Calgary, and Joel remembers it vividly.

With the Buffs this season, Joel points to the Flames run as a benchmark in overcoming great odds.

"They didn't have the best team but they competed hard every night," Joel said.

"It was special because everybody wanted them to win, even Oilers fans were cheering for them.

"It was neat to see how much everyone loved that team."


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