Introducing MYHockey Rankings Director of Digital Media: Scott Lowe
Hockey has been a part of my life for more than 40 years.
It all started with a cartoon character named Peter Puck – back then I think I looked forward to the intermissions more than the games themselves – before my beloved Washington Capitals even existed.
I’m old enough to remember when there was a nationally televised Saturday NHL Game of the Week. I remember mostly the Flyers, Bruins and Rangers playing, but it was that talking puck and the kids practicing stickhandling, skating and shooting between periods as part of the Howie Meeker Hockey School that really piqued my interest.
And of course there was the cool equipment – especially the goalie masks and pads, the multi-colored hockey gloves and the crazy-looking helmets that only a few players wore. There was that pristine sheet of ice with all the colored lines that would get mangled and chewed up by the players only to be smoothed over by that funny looking tractor on ice they called a Zamboni.
For some reason my dad, who as far as I know never really played the sport, enjoyed watching hockey and passed that on to me at a very young age. I remember being really excited every Saturday to get to see a game on TV no matter who was playing. But, at that point, it was as much about the spectacle and that damn cartoon puck as is it was the game itself.
That all changed when I got to attend a professional game in person as a 5 or 6 year old around 1974 or 1975. That’s when the Washington Capitals entered the league. I grew up about 15 minutes from the old Capital Centre. The Caps were historically terrible in their early years, but they were my team in my town and I got to watch them in person.
The game appealed to my senses – the smell of popcorn, pizza and cotton candy upon entering the arena; the chill in the air as I walked down the arena steps toward that magical rink; the players so close and so big and fast gliding effortlessly through their warm-up routine; the sound of pucks crashing into the glass.
It was all mesmerizing for a young fan. And then the game would start. The sound of skate blades digging into the ice, players crashing into the boards and each other at breakneck speeds, the crowd, the giant TV hanging above the rink, the organ, the announcer, the goal siren. What was not to love?
Living so close to the arena made it easy to get to the games. I remember the excitement of going to the arena, and of course the next step was to get a ball and a stick and so I could give street hockey a try. Then I moved on to roller hockey. Soon it was time to get some of the gear – jerseys, gloves, ice skates, a helmet and even a painted goalie mask. I picked up roller skating quickly and took my game to the ice when the ponds would freeze. I remember being a choppy skater in my black figure skates, but I had a knack for the game and could move pretty well.
That is how my journey in hockey began. Within a few years I was playing organized hockey for a mite travel team in my hometown of Bowie, Md. We didn’t have great coaches. My dad wasn’t a great skater, but he helped out. They were all volunteers, but I got to play with several Capitals’ sons and even had their coach, Tom McVie, come out and run practices for us after he got fired. His sons Denver and Dallas played for my club, and Denver was my teammate.
It was a different time for a sport that was still way under the radar in the DC area. But that is what made hockey so cool. The games and the players were so accessible. Caps players were always out and about making public appearances, and one of my most vivid memories is getting to skate with future Hall of Famer Mike Gartner when he was a rookie and I was maybe 7 or 8 years old.
I was hooked. A hockey lifer. But my journey in hockey took a few detours. I gave up the sport with high school looming to pursue my other love – baseball. Baseball, I thought, gave me a better opportunity to go farther and play at higher levels. Giving up hockey remains one of my greatest regrets in life, especially now that I have a son who was drafted in two Tier 2 junior leagues and will be playing NCAA Division III hockey at Suffolk University this fall.
He also was a really good baseball player – probably better than me at that, too – but he fell in love with hockey and despite being an all-conference athlete in three sports during his high school career, that love for the sport never wavered.
For me, though, it took some time away from the game to realize how much I truly enjoyed it. I remained a diehard fan of the Capitals through high school and into college. Getting to cover the Caps in the playoffs in the early 1990s as a journalism student at the University of Maryland definitely rekindled the flame a bit.
Then, my first job out of college was working in the Athletic Communications Office at Princeton University. When I found out my primary assignment was going to be serving as the Sports Information Director for the men’s hockey team, I was thrilled. I’m forever grateful to my then-boss Kurt Kehl, who went on to become an PR/communications for the Capitals and Ted Leonsis, for giving me that opportunity.
I’m also thankful that head coach Don “Toot” Cahoon and the players were so accepting of me from the start. They made me feel part of the team. I went on the road with them and got to skate with them during optional practices and even during a practice at the old Forum in Los Angeles before a tournament there.
It was then that I realized what a mistake I had made by giving up hockey, but that mistake also made me understand how much I loved the sport. And being around those guys and that team gave me the opportunity to kind of live out my hockey dream.
That was 1992. Fast forward to today – August 2019. Many would still consider me a baseball guy. I coached baseball for more than 25 years, worked for Cal and Bill Ripken’s Ripken Baseball organization for nearly 10 years and even wrote a book on coaching baseball with the two Ripken brothers.
Through it all, my relationship with hockey has continue to grow. I coached my son for about eight years until he just got too good for me to be able to help him anymore. Our family has held Caps season tickets since 2008, and we have fought horrendous DMV traffic to make the 75-to-90-minute commute from Baltimore to DC hundreds of times to see them play in person. We’ve been to multiple Winter Classics, seen too many gut-wrenching playoff failures to remember, been to Stanley Cup Finals games, seen a championship parade in person and actually touched the Stanley Cup when the unthinkable finally happened last spring.
I’ve traveled to rinks all over the North America to help my son pursue his dream to play college hockey. I’ve met great coaches and great people and built great relationships at the youth, junior and college levels. The sport has given our family memories that will last a lifetime.
A few years ago, after Devin was drafted by teams in the NCDC and the NAHL, I decided that I wanted to help other kids from our area have the opportunity to pursue their hockey dreams as well. So I started DMVProspects.com with the mission of educating the elite hockey players in the DMV about the various pathways to college hockey and to create opportunities for them to get the exposure they might need to achieve their goals in the sport.
The response to what we’ve been doing through DMVProspects.com has been overwhelming and humbling. More kids from DC, Maryland and Virginia than ever are getting seen by the right people, networking and being afforded opportunities to play at the junior and college levels.
Now, as we continue to grow our program here in the DMV, I’m also taking the next steps along my hockey path. Today, I write this piece to introduce myself, Scott Lowe, as the new Director of Digital Media for MYHockeyRankings.com. I’m thrilled to begin and grateful for the opportunity to connect two of my passions – hockey and writing.
You’ll be hearing from me weekly via articles and social media posts intended to entertain, update and educate. It will be my aim to promote all that is good in youth hockey, to tell many of the great youth hockey stories that can be found across the United States and Canada and to keep everyone updated on rules changes, new innovations and the many new opportunities to play this great game that today’s young players have. I view this position as being very interactive, so please send me your story ideas, news items and Tweets about anything hockey related.
I can’t wait to get started, and hope you will join me as my hockey journey continues.
Talk to you soon!
Scott Lowe - DMVProspects@gmail.com