Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Randy Rowe-A Classy Road Warrior
Randy Rowe-Road Warrior With Class
Randy Rowe is currently in his sixteenth hockey campaign away from home. It began with a four year stint with the Belleville Bulls. He now plays for the Toledo Walleye in the East Coast Hockey League, and was in Fort Myers last week to play against the Florida Everblades.
He was not at all thrilled with the outcome of the visit. The schedule dictates that teams often play against each other three times in a row, to cut down on travel expenses. That gives players from both sides plenty of opportunity to retaliate for nasty business. As well, the league uses two linesman, but only one referee. The Walleye came into the games leading the Everblades; they limped home without taking a point.
At dinner after the game on Friday night, Randy explained the current roster woes that all teams in the ECHL are suffering at the present time. “Several players from the AHL are being recalled to the NHL teams, now that the lockout has been lifted. In turn, the AHL teams are pulling players from the ECHL to fill the rosters. We lost six players in the last two days.” Truly a coach’s nightmare.
Randy crawled off the ice midway through the first period after taking a wicked slapshot from the point on his thigh. Always the consummate pro, he did not miss a shift. Mind you, he walked with some difficulty after the game.
Randy began with the Bulls in 1997, and played until 2001. Many Bulls fans will remember their trips to Ottawa for the Memorial Cup Finals when Rowe was a teammate of Jonathon Cheechoo, Justin Papineau, and Chris Stanley. In his final year with the Bulls, he skated with Kyle Wellwood, Matt Stajan, Branko Radivojevic, Cody McCormick, and Mike Renzi, to name a few. Rowe potted 64 goals in 63 games in his final season with the Bulls.
When asked about his current injury status, and lumps and bruises over the years, Randy shrugged. “I think I’ve broken just about every bone in my body, including my back.” He does work hard to keep in playing shape, and assisted others in that regard last summer in Belleville. He has completed courses in fitness training, but would dearly love to get involved with firefighting when he finishes his hockey career. “There are similarities in both, especially when it comes to working as a team.”
Randy Rowe signs an autograph for Judy Cole from Bennington, Vermont
Randy spent three years with the Peoria Rivermen in the ECHL before he began moving from the ECHL to the AHL for several years. He had stints in St. John’s with the Maple Leafs, in Springfield with the Falcons, and with the Lake Erie Monsters in the AHL.
He told me his favourite team in the NHL is the Vancouver Canucks. Always a big fan of Mark Messier and Pavel Bure, his first NHL training camp was with the Canucks.
Randy indicated that he might be nearing the end of his career. He has seen a lot of chain restaurants, slept in hundreds of different beds, and has spent plenty of time on the road. He has purchased a house in Quinte West, overlooking the new YMCA.
When I asked him whether or not meeting curfew would be a problem, he chuckled and added, “I am the oldest guy on the team. There are advantages in being the senior guy!”
Yet another success story for the Belleville Bulls. A great kid playing the game he loves, and making a living at it!