When Ian Lowe was named Thunder captain early this month, he had scored in six straight games. That was in line with the qualities that made Lowe an easy choice for captain – he was picked more for what he does on the ice than what he says off of it.
Lowe doesn’t need to fire up his teammates with words in the dressing room – for one, Wichita hasn’t need much encouragement lately as the Thunder sits in second place in the ECHL Central, and that just isn’t Lowe’s style.
As possibly the hardest-working Thunder player, the 28-year-old Lowe erases the need for words and often makes observers forget about his relatively slight 5-foot-9, 175-pound stature as he bulldozes into opposing forwards and shifts between defensemen for goals.
“I’m kind of a quiet guy most of the time,” said Lowe, Wichita’s leading scorer with 39 points in 41 games. “I just go to the rink every day and work. No matter what I’m doing, I’m going to try my best and work as hard as I can.
“I may not have the most skill out there, but I try hard and try to win every battle out there. That’s kind of the way I’ve led in juniors and in college and stuff like that – just work as hard as I can, and I think people recognize that.”
Lowe was an alternate captain, along with fellow forward Nikita Kashirsky, for the season’s first two-plus months as former NHL defenseman Theo Peckham served as captain.
Peckham left the Thunder to play overseas in late December, and on Jan. 3 Lowe was promoted with a ‘C’ newly christened on his sweater. The vocal and fiery Peckham was an outlier among the Thunder captains who surrounded him.
Previous captain Andrew Martens, who retired before the season, and Lowe share several qualities – they don’t say much off the ice but are energetic on it without brining much attention to themselves.
“We have a lot of older guys in the locker room who will step up and say something if need be,” Lowe said. “Guys know what kind of leaders they are, and I work hard until I show people how I lead.”
Lowe’s production was at its peak when he was named captain and it has hardly stagnated since. He has scored 10 points in 11 January games, and his playmaking has been as useful as goal scoring as he leads the Thunder with 24 assists.
Lowe is also Wichita’s greatest special teams weapon, with seven power-play goals, tied for third in the league.
“I don’t think it’s really about numbers or anything like that,” Lowe said. “I get a lot of ice time, so you’ve got to put up numbers and score goals, and that goes hand in hand. You get more confidence and start to put up numbers, and more things start to happen.”
Quad City at Thunder
When: 7:05 p.m. Friday
Where: Intrust Bank Arena
Records: QC 18-15-4-2, Thunder 20-15-2-4