Rowe pursues hockey and an education

In 66 games during the regular season, Andrew Rowe scored 29 goals and 43 assists. (Candice Monhollan)

In 66 games during the regular season, Andrew Rowe scored 29 goals and 43 assists. (Candice Monhollan)

Some athletes only see a career in sports ahead of them, but for Elmira Jackals forward Andrew Rowe, he wanted to have an education to go along with it all.

Rowe chose to stay close to home and attend Michigan State University to pursue a degree and continue playing hockey in the CCHA circuit.

“I wanted the education,” Rowe said. “I chose Michigan State and couldn’t have asked for a better staff and just hockey route and education route. They’ve really taken care of me.”

Rowe majored in human resources, but wasn’t able to get his degree because the Philadelphia Flyers came calling for the winger after his junior year.

“It’s every kid’s dream to get an NHL contract and it just kind of worked out with the Flyers,” Rowe said. “Plus, I had family in Philadelphia, so it was pretty nice.”

The Flyers sent the native of Muskegon, Mich., to the Adirondack Phantoms in 2010-11, where he spent the majority of the season and played in 55 games.

The following year, he once again saw time with the Phantoms, appearing in 34 games and scored eight goals and added three assists.

“Phantoms were a great time,” Rowe said. “The guys there are nice. The town isn’t much, but it’s a beautiful fall and springtime there. It was definitely a good experience for my first two years.”

His two-year contract with the Flyers ended over the summer and Rowe became an unrestricted free agent when the Flyers did not tender a qualifying offer to him.

“It didn’t work out, but players go here, go there, trying to get to the NHL somehow,” Rowe said. “We’re all working our best to get there.”

The Jackals of the ECHL jumped at the opportunity to sign the 25-year-old free agent over the summer.

“They made a good offer and it was on the East Coast, close to all the AHL teams,” Rowe said. “It was just nice to have some interest from some teams.”

Rowe got off to a slow start with the Jackals, posting just seven goals and seven assists through the first two months of the season.

As Christmas passed, head coach Dwight Mullins noticed a change in his player. Rowe notched at least one point in the next nine games.

“He’s been a very determined hockey player and he’s got such a great offensive talent,” Mullins said. “We really needed it this time and he’s stepped up for us.”

Over the last 34 games of the regular season, Rowe scored 14 goals and 28 assists for 42 points to help the Jackals secure a spot in the playoffs.

Through all of this, Rowe decided to finish his degree and has been taking classes during the season.

“I’m still actually taking classes in school,” Rowe said. “I do it online and then I’ll go home and take classes during the summer.”

Rowe is set to graduate during the summer, but in the meantime, he is preparing for the first round of the playoffs against the Florida Everblades.

Mullins believes Rowe’s finish to the season and the playoffs can help put a spotlight on the winger and attract attention from teams in the AHL and NHL.

“The big thing for a guy like him is to not to get discouraged and just keep some hope,” Mullins said. “He’s playing really good hockey right now and I think that if our team can put a run together here, it’s going to do nothing but help him in his future. He’s a young guy with a lot of hockey ahead of him.”

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Categories: ECHL, Features, Ice Hockey, Sports

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