For Kings prospect Joel Lowry that could be why you rarely hear about him.
It has nothing to do with his skill or his size, but simply a matter of where he plays.
He’s not in one of the three major Canadian junior leagues, nor does he play in the same college hockey conference as schools like North Dakota, Wisconsin and Denver.
Instead, he’s at Cornell.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with the program there. In fact, they were the Ivy League champions in 2012 and entered this past season as one of the top-ranked schools in the country.
With three NCAA tournament appearances in the last five years, they’re certainly worthy of being talked about. Yet, they haven’t been to the Frozen Four since 2003, so they fly just below the national radar.
For Lowry though, a 6-foot-2 forward drafted by the Kings in 2011 (fifth round, 140th overall), it’s been the perfect place to advance his academic career and improve his hockey skills.
Two years ago he had six goals in 35 games as a rookie, an output he doubled in the just completed campaign, posting 12 goals in 33 games.
Like all Kings prospects in town for his week’s development camp, he feels stronger and more confident now compared to previous summers in Los Angeles.
Here are seven questions with Lowry…
Let’s talk about the books first. What class or classes have you really enjoyed so far?
“I’ve had a lot of good classes. I’m actually a business major, but the psychology class I took I really liked. I’ve also liked marketing as well…It’s nice going back for your sophomore year, knowing what to expect at the rink, but also what it takes academically in the classroom and how much time you need to put in. I think going back this year, it will be a lot easier having those two years of experience too.”
What was the experience like playing in Madison Square Garden this season and what are some of the toughest or most exciting barns you guys go to?
“It was definitely awesome. It’s a really cool experience just being in New York City and getting to play in the world’s most famous arena. It’s also really cool because a lot of our alumni and a lot of our fans, the kids who go to our school, they’re from in and around the city…It’s really nice to see the support we have and how great our alumni are…We haven’t had too many tough, tough rinks. I guess probably Colgate, because they like to say we’re their biggest rival and they usually pack the building and they throw Big Red gum at us and stuff like that. Their fans get pretty rowdy and do some dumb things, so that’s probably the toughest place to play.”
Two of LA’s other top college prospects, Derek Forbort and Nick Shore, turned pro a few months ago. Looking ahead to next summer, are you 100% committed to staying in school and getting your degree?
“I think so, yeah. I’m definitely excited to go back and see where our team is at. I love it there, I love the school and I love my teammates. It’s been an awesome experience so far and I definitely want to make the most of it, for sure…I’ve put a lot of time and effort into my studies and I wouldn’t want to see it all go to waste, I guess. But, I don’t know, we’ll see what happens.”
What current or former NHL player do you admire the most?
“I think you try and take things from a lot of different players – every player is so different. The only thing I would to to model after guys is probably their competitiveness, while just trying to be my own player. I’m not trying to do anything fancy or strive to be someone else or someone that I’m not. I’m just trying to be who I am and play the way I can.”
Some guys are too caught up in their own stuff to pay much attention – so, how big of an NHL fan are you?
“I definitely follow the NHL, it’s tough some nights, when you have school work or have to practice late or a night class or something like that, to try and watch some games. But definitely, whenever we have time – usually more so toward the end of our season when we’re kind of winding things down and not practicing as long, then you have more time to spend just watching games and kind of taking it all in. I guess probably in that respect, later on in the spring is when we pay more attention. But I definitely keep a close eye on things.”
What are you hoping to gain, learn or show off in camp this week?
“It’s definitely important, especially for the college guys, because we don’t get to come to camp in September. So, we want to put our best foot forward and try to make a good impression. I just want to show them my work ethic and that I’m progressing, and hopefully progressing along the lines that they’re expecting and hoping for me. I also want to try and gain as much as I can, try to be a sponge and absorb whatever they’re sharing because those guys know a lot. It’s definitely helpful and definitely good to just have some time to work on specific skills that the Kings expect you to be good at so you know what you need to practice when you get back to school or wherever you’re playing and what you need to get better at.”
Which member of the Kings scouting/development staff do you communicate with the most and how do you handle any extra pressure that may come when they’re in the building watching you?
“Probably Nelson Emerson, I’ve talked to him a few times during the year. He touches base with me once in a while through text messages and then I’ll talk to him after a game when he’s in town – which I think I react fine to when he’s there. When you know anybody from LA is going to be there, obviously a lot of the time they are probably just trying to lay low and have some guys step in and watch, sometime you don’t even know they are there. I definitely elevate my game for whatever reason when they’re there though, just because you’re focusing more and want to make a good impression, so you’re trying hard in every aspect of your game when you know they’re in the building.”
Finally, a little trivia note for you – LA’s newly acquired goalie, Ben Scrivens, where did he go to school? Yes, Cornell University.
Next up, we’ll check in with the biggest name in camp this year, the Kings number one rated prospect. Who could that be? Here’s a hint.