Oilers' president enjoys another visit to Edmonton mayor’s chambers
Lowe takes part in ceremony for Oil Kings at City Hall
By Cam Tait, edmontonjournal.com
May 31, 2012
EDMONTON — Hockey dominated City Hall on Wednesday, and it had nothing to do with the downtown arena debate.
In a refreshing change, the Edmonton Oil Kings were honoured for their Western Hockey League championship.
Mayor Stephen Mandel tugged an Oil Kings jersey over his shirt and tie, joining many of the 300 onlookers who were also showing their colours.
Mandel proclaimed Wednesday as Edmonton Oil King Day, bringing back fond memories for Edmonton Oilers president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe, who joined Oil Kings players, coaches and executive to meet Mandel and city councillors in private before the ceremony.
“It’s always an honour to be in the mayor’s chambers,” said Lowe, who won five Stanley Cups as an Oilers defenceman. “Today was nothing short of that.”
The Oil Kings won the WHL championship by defeating the Portland Winterhawks in the seventh and deciding game on May 13 at Rexall Place.
Despite a 1-3 showing and an early Memorial Cup exit, this season had many positives for the Oil Kings, including 50 wins in the regular season.
“I’m sure the Oilers are going to learn a few things from the Oil Kings,” said Lowe, who then looked at his son, Keegan, who was sharing the stage as a member of the junior team.
“I hope my son will now shave that cheesy moustache off,” Lowe said, drawing applause and laughter.
Oil Kings head coach Derek Laxdal was beaming with pride both on and off the stage.
“A celebration like this brings closure to the season,” said Laxdal. “It’s great to see the people of Edmonton come out and support the team.”
Laxdal just completed his second season as the Oil Kings head coach and is keenly aware of Edmonton’s City of Champions nickname.
“These boys are very proud to represent Edmonton,” he said.
“I’ve never been around a better group of kids. We ask a lot of them over the season and not once have we had an issue off the ice with any of them,” said Oil Kings general manager Bob Green, who has been with the team since it entered the WHL as an expansion franchise in 2007.
Just as the ceremony ended, the video screen at the north end of City Hall showed a montage of the Oil Kings’ playoff run. The players formed a semi-circle on the stage to watch the video.
“This is something they will remember for the rest of their lives,” said Laxdal.
Some players went out to play a few minutes of road hockey in Churchill Square before an autograph session, then the Oil Kings boarded their bus for the last time as a team for the short ride to Rexall Place.
After the team awards banquet Wednesday night, the players will go their separate ways Thursday. But not the coaches. Spring camp is this weekend for the Oil Kings’ 15- and 16-year-old prospects.
© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal