© Copyright – 2017 – Victoria Sports News
Monday morning, the Canadian sports news media was reporting that Willie Desjardins had been fired as head coach of the Vancouver Canucks, after three years at the helm.
The Canucks, while in a rebuilding process, were not expected to make the playoffs during the 2016-2017 National Hockey League season, however, they are rich with young talent that needs to be guided forward by someone who has experience working with young players. It is assumed that Desjardins, after those three years at the helm of the Canuck’s bench, was viewed as not the best man for the job.
So who is?
An anonymous, but a reliable source close to Victoria Sports News as well as the Victoria Royals Western Hockey League franchise, claims that Dave Lowry has been talking to the Vancouver Canucks for at least six weeks. The source also suggests that one of two scenarios is likely to take place:
Lowry to coach the Vancouver Canucks or NHL veteran Travis Green to coach the Vancouver Canucks and Lowry to be one of Green’s assistant coaches.
Did the Canucks just make room for one or both of Green and Lowry by firing Desjardins?
Apparently, Lowry has also talked to the Vancouver Giants; however, this scenario does not seem likely as it would be a parallel move. Additionally, there was a suggestion that he was talking to a Calgary-based team, but was told as a condition of negotiations to take the Royals deep into the playoffs before being considered. That did not happen.
The Sudbury native’s family resides in Calgary.
Lowry’s tenure in the Western Hockey League has been long and successful and as Royals’ General Manager Cam Hope has said, “he is long overdue to move on to a higher level….” and “…each year we have been lucky to have Lowry come back.”
Hope also said that while the WHL is a development league for players, it is also a development league for coaches.
Lowry acknowledged that there are only 31 head coaching positions in the NHL and said that he is also not in a hurry to leave Victoria. In other words the right scenario would have to be offered for him to leave.
Vancouver is a 90-minute flight from Calgary and perhaps Lowry is viewed as a good candidate to lead the Canuck’s youth movement.
When contacted about the potential move or apparent discussions, a Royals spokesperson said that this is the first that they have heard of it.
Lowry is a former NHL player who spent time in Vancouver, San Jose, Calgary, St. Louis and Florida. In 1084 NHL games, he accumulated 164 goals, 187 assists for a total of 351 points.
He has NHL coaching experience as an assistant with the Calgary Flames. Lowry also worked as an assistant coach and head coach of the Calgary Hitmen. He led the Hitmen to one of the all-time best regular season records in Major Junior hockey history where they accomplished a season with 59 win, nine losses and four overtime losses during the 2008–2009 season and coached the team to the WHL finals in the playoffs.
In Victoria, he has coached the Royals for five years, taking them to the playoffs each time and leading them to their best season in franchise history with a record of 50-16-0-6 in 2016-2017.
During his tenure with the Royals, Lowry is credited with 209 wins, 124 losses and 27 overtime losses.
He also coached Canada’s national junior team during the 2016 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championships.
Green is also a former NHL player who spent time with the New York Islanders, Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, Anaheim Ducks and Phoenix Coyotes.
He has since spent four years as head coach of the Utica Comets with the American Hockey League as well as three years as coach and assistant coach of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. In 2012-2013, under Green, the Winterhawks won the WHL championships.