The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has made for some big changes for professional athletes around the globe due to physical distancing and restrictions in place to curb the spread of the virus.
Winnipeg Jets forward Adam Lowry is isolating with his brother and girlfriend in Calgary, where cooking all his own meals has been the most difficult adjustment, missing out on all the free food provided by the Jets.
“Just playing in the NHL we’re always around food,” Lowry said. “Just because I have to cook a little more at home and stuff, I feel like I get a little hangry in the afternoon.
“That’s honestly something I’ve noticed more now. Just you don’t eat as much at lunch, and you don’t eat at much at breakfast because you’re cooking it for yourself, and now three o’clock, four o’clock hits — I got the hunger pains going. I start to get a little grumpy.”
Lowry originally decided to stay in Winnipeg, but when it became clear the pandemic wouldn’t be ending any time soon, he headed back to his summer home in Cowtown. He has his own gym equipment there, and believes he’s been able to keep in relatively good shape.
But during the pandemic he’s come to the realization there are lots of things he’s taken for granted.
“I think in the grand scheme of things, it’s kind of made you realize how fortunate we were beforehand,” Lowry said. “Going to the grocery store and not having to wait in line, or being able to buy toilet paper at will. Just things like going out to eat dinner, or going to the movie theatre, or see if you want to play golf. Just these things you kind of take for granted you can do every day normally, and now you can’t.”
Sporting a new moustache, he’s tried to keep in touch with teammates, but Lowry is still missing the camaraderie in the dressing room. While the NHL season is on pause, Lowry has been spending all his newfound free time reading books, playing online poker, and bingeing on shows like Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Tiger King and Ozark.
“I know a lot of guys have been have tried to pick up musical instruments, but I don’t have the rhythm going in my body,” Lowry said. “I played a little online poker to kill the time. Sitting outside — the weather is finally starting to turn the corner here and get nice. So I think that’s made a difference, just being able to get outside and enjoy a little bit of nature.”
The Dustin Byfuglien saga recently came to an end with a mutual contract termination between him and the Jets. While it appeared the loss of their top defender hung over the Jets like a dark cloud for much of the season, Lowry doesn’t believe it affected the team as much as everyone thought.
“It was kind of a media-driven storm about the impact it was having within our locker room,” he said. “I think you lose such an impactful player, you’re going to lose some results on the ice. But I think early on our struggles — you lose (Jacob) Trouba, you lose (Tyler) Myers, and you lose Byfuglien. Those are three elite defencemen, and it takes some time to get the new guys up to speed.”
Former Jets assistant coach Todd Woodcroft recently accepted the head coaching position with the University of Vermont men’s hockey team, and Lowry credits Woodcroft for his success in the faceoff circle.
“I think he did such a good job making time for everyone,” Lowry said. “There might be something in your game you’re not happy with, there might be something in your game that he sees, and before practice — now you’re working on it. You feel like it’s back to where it needs to be.”
Lowry believes it would only take a couple of weeks for players to get back into game shape. The National Hockey League is considering several different proposals to return to action, but Lowry is among the players not in favour of playing games in one city away from friends and family.
“It’s tough to know what the best route going forward is going to be,” Lowry said. “I think that’s something that’s a little unfair to ask them to be away from their wife and kids for an extended period of time. I know it’s a business and I know we have contracts and everything — to ask guys to lock themselves away in hotels for months on end, and to be away from their wife and kids, or girlfriends, or even their families. Some guys have parents who are sick and things like that. I think that’s kind of going to be a point of contention for sure for players.
“I don’t think there’s going to be an option that makes everyone happy. It’s one of those things where you’re going to have to make some compromises.”