Longtime NHL defenseman Jay Bouwmeester has officially retired from professional hockey at 37 years old.
It's hard to believe that it's been nearly a calendar year since The St. Louis Blues defender suffered a cardiac episode on the bench during a game against the Anaheim Ducks. Bouwmeester sat out the rest of the 2019-20- season but hadn't officially closed the book on a return to the Blues roster until today. Bouwmeester opened up to NHL insider Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic today though and confirmed that his playing days are over.
“Oh yeah,’’ Bouwmeester said when asked if he knew that his career was over. “I knew I was done essentially when it happened, to be quite honest.’’
Interestingly enough though, Bouwmeester has yet to watch the footage of him collapsing on the Blues bench from last February.
“I didn’t know what happened,” said Bouwmeester, 37. “I haven’t watched it, I have no interest in doing that. Of all the people there in the building or watching on TV, I was the most oblivious to anything. Because I basically passed out and by the time I came back and kind of knew what was going on, I was on the way to the hospital.
“It took a little while for me to actually figure out what had happened. When that sort of dialogue got going, it was pretty shocking because you never expect it.’’
Bouwmeester, who won a Stanley Cup championship with the Blues in 2019, has no regrets.
“It’s a great job, it’s your dream as a kid,” he said. “But the end comes for everybody at some point. I’m happy with the career I had. I consider myself really lucky to have had the experiences I’ve had. But at the end of the day, that day is going to come where you just have to move on. It happens different for everyone. That’s life.’’
“When you put it in perspective, I was super lucky,” said Bouwmeester, who played 1,240 regular-season games with Florida, Calgary and St. Louis. “The career I had, to get some of the opportunities I had to play on some of those international teams, and to be part of a really special group in St. Louis and win the Stanley Cup, all those things, I have no regrets. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.’’
All the best, Jay. Nothing but health and happiness to you and your family.