Jan 13, 2021
The San Diego Gulls opened their annual Training Camp on Monday, Jan. 11 at Great Park Ice & FivePoint Arena in Irvine, Calif. SanDiegoGulls.com will provide an in-depth look as the team spends the next 25 days preparing for the condensed 2020-21 season.
By AJ Manderichio/SanDiegoGulls.com
Keegan Lowe chuckled when asked if he’s happy to wear a Gulls sweater rather than face the team.
“I’m extremely happy to be here,” the defenseman said following today’s training camp practice. “It’s been a few years of some real hard battles with these guys, and for the most part, most of those guys are still here. We had that good playoff round two years ago, and lots of games down here in Southern California.
“I just really admire the way they play their game. It’s a hard game, they’re in your face, fast paced, good structure.”
The former captain of the Bakersfield Condors – a bitter rival of San Diego – signed a one-year American Hockey League (AHL) contract with the Gulls on Monday. A veteran with over 400 career AHL games under his belt, Lowe brings his high-intensity mindset to a team with plenty of snarl – and skill – on the blueline.
He also comes from an impressive hockey background. The 6-2, 194-lb defenseman is the son of Kevin Lowe, who won six Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers and the New York Rangers, and is a newly-elected member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. The senior Lowe also previously served as the Oilers head coach (1999-00), general manager (2000-07) and president of hockey operations (2007-15).
Those impressive roots helped Lowe carve out a successful three-year stay in the AHL’s Pacific Division, where he 41 points with the Condors. He ranks fifth all-time in games played in Condors AHL history.
Lowe’s seen firsthand how San Diego commits to bringing in strong veterans to fill out a roster brimming with some of the organization’s top prospects. These factors made signing with the Gulls an attractive destination.
“It’s something that’s super exciting for me,” he explained. “There’s some extremely talented young guys, especially defensemen, in this organization. I got to know Josh Mahura a little bit this summer. We’re lucky enough to maybe have (Jamie) Drysdale here a little bit to start the year with everything going on. It’s fun to see how talented these guys are and hopefully have a bit of a positive influence on them.”
He’s hoping to lend his expertise and lead by example.
“That’s kind of my game – I show up and work hard every day,” Lowe said. “I’m a competitive player, so hopefully guys can see that and follow me that way. As I get a little more comfortable, I’ll do what I can. At the end of the day, it’s just going out there and doing the right thing, (showing) good habits and guys can follow you the right way.”
The first two days of camp saw Lowe and his teammates hit the ground running. Head coach Kevin Dineen put the team through two fast-paced, up-tempo practices. With some players joining from Anaheim Ducks training camp – and others returning from the IIHF World Junior Championships – he’s excited to jump in right away.
“Every time you come in to a new coach, it’s different,” he said. “The first few days, you don’t know the drills, so it keeps you on your toes. His practices are fast. He doesn’t keep you out there long, but the pace is up there. I like it a lot. I’m a high-intensity player, so I think it’s been good for me so far to get my legs back under me. So far, it’s been a good experience.”