Oilers' great Lowe to see jersey raised to Rogers Place rafters

The Edmonton Oilers will honour their first-ever NHL draft pick Friday night by retiring his jersey.

Kevin Lowe’s No. 4 jersey will be raised to Rogers Place rafters.

The Hockey Hall of Fame member will also be given a plaque which will be unveiled at the Oilers Hall of Fame Room.

“It’s hard to put in words. I’ve been thinking about it a lot,” Lowe told CTV News Edmonton.

“It’s particularly, I want to say rewarding, I guess, the way the team’s playing right now, makes things a whole lot easier. The fans are excited to be in the building and watch the Oilers play.”

Lowe was the franchise’s first-ever draft pick, chosen in the first round, 21st overall in the 1979 NHL draft.

The defenceman played 19 seasons in the NHL: 15 with the Oilers and four with the New York Rangers, who the Oilers face off against Friday night. He currently works with the Oilers Entertainment Group.

The 62-year-old won the Stanley Cup five times with Edmonton, once more with New York and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the class of 2020.

As well, he spent one season as head coach of the Oilers in 1999/2000, followed by eight seasons as the team’s general manager, which included a run to the 2006 Stanley Cup final.

But asked what he considers his own career highlight, Lowe said, “Tough to come up with one answer.”

“I mean, playing in the NHL alone is such an incredible feat for a young person growing up. You know, dreaming about it and then to go on and win Stanley Cups — those are the best hockey memories.

“But I’ve been thinking about a lot of things recently, and just thinking about coming to Edmonton and making it home, such a wonderful city. And incredible people and I’m so fortunate.”

Lowe’s number will be the eighth retired by the Oilers. He had been the only player to wear the number until it was given to first overall draft pick Taylor Hall in 2010.

The team prefaced the celebration for Lowe with a gala dinner on Thursday, attended by Lowe’s family and friends and Oilers alumni.

Rogers Place gates open at 4:44 p.m. on Friday. The jersey retirement ceremony will start at 5:45 p.m. and the pre-game warmup at 7 p.m.

Half of the net proceeds from the gala dinner and Friday’s online 50/50 will benefit four organizations important to Lowe’s family: Christmas Bureau of Edmonton, Zebra Child Protection Centre, Sarah McLachlan School of Music and North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper.

Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. game were still available Friday morning.

The Edmonton-New York matchup will mark the first time the teams play this season as the Oilers look to extend their three-game win streak.

As cautiously as one can predict a month into the season that a team will end up in the playoffs, Lowe said the current Oilers roster is looking “very good.”

“But the proof is in the pudding when it does come to playoff time. There’s a lot of work to do but they look like a great team and they’re very exciting to watch.”