After a cardiac incident nearly cost him his life during a game in 2020, Canadian defender Jay Bouwmeester today formally announced his retirement from hockey at age 37, eleven months to the day of his near-fatal game.
The third overall pick of the Florida Panthers in the 2002 Draft, Bouwmeester spent six full seasons with the Panthers, serving as a two-time All-Star but failing to make the playoffs. The Edmonton native then was traded to the Calgary Flames in 2009, where he would spend three and a half seasons in Alberta, breaking the league record for consecutive games by a defender in 2011 with his 486th straight game. Bouwmeester was traded to St. Louis in 2013, spending his final seven and a half seasons with the Blues and finally getting to experience playoff hockey, culminating with the first Stanley Cup for him and the franchise in 2019. However, his final seasons were cut short after going into cardiac arrest on 11 February 2020, as he collapsed on the bench during a game in Anaheim, but luckily being able to be fit with a defibrillator implant to restore his heart rhythm.
Bouwmeester first joined Team Canada at the 2000 World Juniors, playing at three straight Juniors tournaments, winning straight bronzes and a silver in 2002. Joining the senior men’s team in 2003, Bouwmeester played at four World Championships, two Olympics (2006 and 2014) and two World Cups, medaling at all but one World Championship (Gold in 2003 and 2004, Silver in 2008), along with Olympic Gold in 2014 and World Cup titles in 2004 and 2016. His 2019 Stanley Cup victory made him the 30th male and twelfth Canadian to join the Triple Gold Club.
Bouwmeester captured the IHLC ten times during his career, first in the lead-up to the 2001 World Junior Championships and lastly in the lead-up to the 2016 World Cup, with wins also coming at the World Championships and Olympics. We wish Jay and his family the very best for his retirement and the things to come!