Seventh-round pick Lowe has high hopes
Sixteen-year-old centre plans to open 2020-21 OHL season with Otters
Cameron Lowe was disappointed when COVID-19 crowd restrictions cancelled the OHL Cup.
The 16-year-old from Chippawa, a centre with the South Central champion Southern Tier Admirals, had been looking forward to making one final lasting impression with scouts before heading into the Ontario Hockey League draft.
“It’s such a big tournament, and you work all season to get there,” he said. “It was just a heartbreaker not to play in it.”
A Grade 10 student at Saint Michael Catholic High School in Niagara Falls, Lowe hardly dropped completely off the radar after the much-anticipated showcase for draft-eligible minor-midget players was cancelled. He wound up going in the seventh round when the Erie Otters took him with the 128th overall pick.
“I feel like, if I had played in the tournament, I could have shown a little bit more, but overall I am happy with my season,” said Lowe, who had 12 goals and 13 assists in 30 regular-season games for the Admirals.
The six-foot, 156-pound lefthand shot — one of seven Admirals to be taken in the online draft Saturday — followed the proceedings on a big-screen TV in the living room with family members.
“I was getting a little bit more anxious as rounds went on, seeing my buddies go,” the son of Jon and Leigh Lowe admitted. “But, once I saw my name go in the seventh round, my stomach just had a bunch of butterflies. I was so excited.”
Lowe, who takes pride in playing a 200-foot game and in his work on both the power play and penalty kill, doesn’t intend to be pigeonholed as a midround pick when he attends Otters training camp, hopefully in late August.
“I’m excited to get down there and show them what I’ve got. Hopefully, make the team the first year,” he said.
Lowe will be going against older, bigger and stronger players should he crack the Erie roster as a rookie, a tall order, to be sure, though not an insurmountable one.
“I feel like my height is good. I just have to work on getting heavier, bulkier. But that comes with time,” he said.
Lowe intends to improve his takeoff as a skater by working on his first three steps.
“I can always work on my skating, just getting faster, because everything is faster at the next level,” he said.
The Canadian teenager isn’t fazed by the prospect of living away from home for the first time playing on a team based in northeast Pennsylvania.
“I feel like it will be a bit of an adjustment, but I feel like I can do it,” Lowe said. “Erie is such a great organization, so I feel like it will be good for me.”
His role model is Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews.
“I feel like we play a similar game. He’s a good 200-foot centre. Can play any role, whether it’s penalty kill, power play,” Lowe said. “He just helps his team win, and he’s a good leader.”
Like the prospects hoping to increase their draft stock, the Otters look forward to the OHL Cup. However, the tournament is the culmination of months of tracking a player’s development, not a one-off showcase for scouts.
“All of the groundwork is done by then, and that’s just the cherry on top,” Erie assistant coach Wes Wolfe said. “From an organizational standpoint, we want to make sure all of our homework is done well in advance of the OHL Cup tournament.”
Wolfe, a Niagara Falls native who coached the Jr. B St. Catharines Falcons and then the Port Colborne Pirates before joining the Otters, said people shouldn’t be too hung up on which round a player is drafted.
“Our team is certainly one that doesn’t discriminate regardless of what round a player is drafted in. Some of our best players over the last five years were even free agent players,” Wolfe said.
Erie’s two leading scorers this past season — Maxim Golod, with 25 goals and 53 assists, and Chat Yetman, with 43 goals and 31 assists — were 13th- and 10th-round picks, respectively.
“They are just two examples of guys who used the opportunity but, more importantly, put in the work,” Wolfe explained. “I think for a player like Cameron, or any other guy for that matter, the opportunity is always there for those who are willing to put in the work and show the discipline required to be an OHL hockey player. If a player is willing to put in the work, then the opportunity is there.”
Lowe was a player who stood out early in the season and
“From an organizational standpoint, we want to make sure all of our homework is done well in advance of the OHL Cup tournament.” WES WOLFE ERIE OTTERS ASSISTANT COACH
continued to improve as the year went on.
“That culminated in his minor-midget team advancing to the OHL playdowns where he had a tremendous tournament at both ends of the rink,” Wolfe said.
“His lasting impression that he was able to give to our scouting staff was in that tournament.”
Erie was impressed with
Lowe’s “ability to play in all important situations.”
“He was a guy who was really counted on by his Southern Tier team to shut down the other team’s best players,” Wolfe said. “His reliability in the defensive zone I think is probably what enabled him to chip in offensively, as well.
“He’s got a lot of skill and the ability to transition the puck from the defensive zone into the offensive zone against the other team’s best players I think was one of the things that was really important to us.”
Lowe is averaging in the high 80s and lows 90s in his high school courses at Saint Michael.
His career goals outside of hockey involve something in the kinesiology field and perhaps becoming a chiropractor.
Sixteen-year-old Cameron Lowe of Chippawa had 12 goals and 13 assists in 30 regular-season games for the South Central champion Southern Tier Admirals this past campaign.