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May 07, 2015

Frock Lowrey

Brothers Fred, Eddie and  Gerry Lowrey were all well travelled hockeyists who enjoyed lengthy stays in the National Hockey League in the 1920s and 1930s.

The family came from the turn-of-the-century hockey hotbed of Ottawa.

Another brother, Tom, was a well known local player who never made it to the NHL and became editor of the Ottawa Journal, coached Frank and Billy, the youngest of the family. Another brother, Robert, was said to be a great hockey player and footballer but gave it up to become a minister.

There was also three sisters - Evelyn and two sisters who apparently both went by the name Mary as an adult.

Fred, nicknamed Frock for unclear reasons, was the older of the two. He left home at the age of 20 to chase hockey dreams. Two years later he was in the National Hockey League,

Lowrey (some newspaper reports mistakenly referred to him as Lowery with frequency) joined the Montreal Maroons for the 1924-25 season, but was largely used as a substitute player. He only picked up one assist in 27 games played.

Lowrey scored a goal in season two, oddly enough scoring against the Ottawa Senators, but split the year between Montreal and the Pittsburgh Pirates. No, not the baseball team. In 1926 the National Hockey League had a hockey team in Pittsburgh, and yes they were named the Pirates.

Lowrey's fortunes in Pittsburgh were not a whole lot better. He continued to be used as a depth player. He and Alf Skinner were designated substitutes rarely seeing the ice. It got worse when coach Odie Cleghorn, a former star player, opted to become a playing coach and do the substituting himself.

Lowrey was destined for a vagabond career in the minor leagues until 1932. It was then that he was reinstated as an amateur and returned to Ottawa and played and coached senior hockey until hanging up the blades in 1940.

Lance-Corporal Fred Lowrey was enlisted in the Canadian military during World War II, serving in Iceland and France with the Cameron Highlanders. He returned home safe in 1945.

Lowrey would work in the building inspections department at Ottawa city Hall, retiring just 6 months before his death in 1968.

1 comment:

Sheila White said...

While looking for some family information I came across this post about my uncle Fred Lowrey, and thought I would drop you a note. My mother was his sister Evelyn and he and my mother were very close. Fred's other two sisters were Mary and Maryon. Fred's nickname of Frock came about when he was a kid playing hockey on the Canal at the end of Pretoria Avenue. He used to wear a long frock coat, perhaps to keep warm, and thus the name. Regarding his brother Robert, he was a Catholic priest and served with great distinction in World War 11 carrying in wounded, binding up wounds, taking last messages for dying soldiers.
It was always very interesting to listen in when Fred watched a hockey game at our house, talking about the old days.

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