Jay Bouwmeester “gave up” his playing career after 17 seasons in the NHL, the St. Louis Blues defenseman told Athletic.
“It’s a great job, it’s your childhood dream. But the end comes for everyone at some point. I am happy with the career I have had. I consider myself really lucky to have had the experiences that I have had. But at the end of the day, that day will come when you just have to move on. It happens differently for everyone. It’s life. ”
Bouwmeester experienced a heart attack on the bench with 7:50 left in the first period of a game at the Anaheim Ducks on February 11. He was resuscitated by medical personnel using a defibrillator, regained consciousness immediately and was taken to UC Irvine Medical Center. in Anaheim for processing.
Three days later, Bouwmeester underwent an implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) procedure to restore his heart to normal rhythm. The Blues placed him in the long-term injured reserve on February 18.
Bouwmeester became an unrestricted free agent after scoring nine points (one goal, eight assists) with a plus-6 rating and an average of 21:34 ice time in 56 games last season. Selected by the Florida Panthers as third pick in the 2002 NHL Draft, he scored 424 points (88 goals, 336 assists) in 1,240 NHL games for the Calgary Blues, Panthers and Flames, and has got 13 assists in 75 Stanley Cup playoffs. He finished with seven playoff assists and was plus-9 with an average of 11:30 p.m. of ice time to help St. Louis win the Stanley Cup in 2019. He also became the 29th player to enter Triple Gold. Club as the winner of the tournament. Cup, an Olympic gold medal (Sochi 2014 Olympics with Canada) and the IIHF World Championship (2003).
“When you put it in perspective, I was very lucky,” Bouwmeester said. “The career that I had, to get some of the opportunities that I had to play in some of these international teams, and to be in a really special group in St. Louis and to win the Stanley Cup, all these things, I have no regrets. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. ”
Blues general manager Doug Armstrong told the Cam & Strick podcast in an episode published on December 1 that the organization was interested in hiring Bouwmeester as a scout after his playing days.
“I would love to work with him,” Armstrong said. “I would love to have him participate in scouts for us in the future.
“He’s one of those guys. He has a great hockey spirit, and also a great retreat until you are home all the time. Now I’m not saying he’s going to want to travel like a professional scout and make four games in five. nights in five cities, but he can go to Calgary, go to Edmonton, go to Vancouver, he can come while we’re there. These are the people of character for whom I have the most respect. ”