SUN Hockey Pool

Trainer Lowe hits 1,500

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:39 AM ET

Ken Lowe is the last person any of the Edmonton Oilers want to see during a game. If he comes running out to see you, it's because you're hurt.

If you're hurt, however, Lowe is the first person you want to see. If he comes running out, you're in good hands.

The Oilers head medical trainer has been tending to the bloodied and battered and broken for 20 years - helping them off the ice when they're injured, then nursing them back to health so they can get back on.

"It's 15 hours days, seven days a week through hockey season, but I wouldn't give that up," said Lowe, who oversaw his 1,500th regular season NHL game last night. "I love doing it, it's a challenge coming in here every day. I'm excited about it."

He's seen it all in those two decades, from minor to grievous. He can't even begin to count the number of times he's hopped over the boards and run - he always runs - to tend to a fallen player.

"Hugh Campbell taught me years ago that when you go out for a player, run, show him that you're concerned," said Lowe, who worked seven seasons with the Edmonton Eskimos, winning two Grey Cup rings, before moving to hockey in 1989.

He also worked the all-star games in 1997 and 2009 and worked for Team Canada five times, including the 2002 and 2006 Winter Olympics.

"Rookie year, winning the Stanley Cup, that has to be the best," he said of his career highlights. "And working with the younger brother (Kevin) as a player. I've had some phenomenal players in both football and hockey, so it's a long, long list."

Of very grateful athletes.

"The guys in this dressing room realize what we do, they appreciate it and they always thank you," said Lowe, who marvels at the punishment they put themselves through.

"You can't not have a high pain threshold to be at this level, then you take it to an even higher level with some guys. The toughest guy, he bordered on insanity, was Danny Kepley. In hockey, Jason Smith - there isn't much tougher. If Jason Smith ever said 'I need to see a doctor,' I'd say 'Get an ambulance.'

"And the younger brother, I don't know where he got it from, it must have been dad.

"Steve Staios last game, he played vomiting and (with) severe stomach cramps and he gets hit in the belly with a slap shot."

Staios says you want to stay as far away from the trainer as you can, till you need him.

"Kenny's been here for a long time and understands how important a part of the team he is," said Staios. "It's a real testament to him to get to his 1,500th game.

"He's always here before everybody else. I don't even know how many times he gets home during the week. He's one dedicated guy."

ROBERT.TYCHKOWSKI@SUNMEDIA.CA


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