Jay Daniel Bouwmeester is a Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman playing for the St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League (NHL).
Background History –
Bouwmeester was born on September 27, 1983, in Edmonton, Alberta. He is the son of Dan and Gena Bouwmeester and has an older sister, Jill. His father is a school teacher and coach in Edmonton and played defense for the University of Alberta Golden Bears hockey team. He started playing baseball, soccer, volleyball, and basketball at school at an early age.
He had a natural gift for hockey from childhood and he started playing hockey at their backyard hockey rink.
Junior – Bouwmeester played bantam and midget hockey with the Edmonton South Side Athletic Club, winning the Alberta midget championship in 1997–98. He was selected by the Medicine Hat Tigers first overall at the Western Hockey League’s (WHL) 1998. He joined the tigers full time in 1999-2000, scoring 34 points in 64 games as a 16-year-old.
He scored 53 points in 2000-01 and 61 points in 2001-02. After that, he was named to the WHL’s East All-Star team and was considered a candidate to be selected first overall at the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.
Florida Panthers –
Bouwmeester made his NHL debut with the Panthers at the start of the 2002–03 Season and appeared in all 82 games for Florida a mindblowing record for a rookie.
He scored his first NHL goal on 11, November 2002, against the Chicago Blackhawks. He was selected in the NHL All-Rookie Team in 2003. He improved to 20 points in 61 games in 2003–04, though he missed 18 games because of a foot injury.
Bouwmeester experienced a break-out season after the NHL resumed play in 2005–06, scoring 5 goals, 41 assists, and 46 points in 82 games. He was invited to join Team Canada at the 2006 Winter Olympics in place of injured defenceman Scott Niedermayer.
Once he was arrested in his hometown of Edmonton for driving under the influence, a charge he pleaded guilty to the following summer.
Bouwmeester again appeared in 82 games playing for Panthers in 2006–07 and set a new career record with 12 goals. He appeared in his first NHL All-Star Game, playing for the Panthers in the game held in Dallas, Texas.
Calgary Flames –
Panthers traded Bouwmeester’s negotiating rights to the Calgary Flames in exchange for the negotiating rights to defenceman Jordan Leopold and a third-round draft pick (used to select Josh Birkholz) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
The Flames struggled to score in 2009–10 NHL season and Bouwmeester was no exception, he finished the year with just 3 goals.
Bouwmeester broke the NHL record for consecutive games played by a defenceman on March 15, 2011, when he appeared in his 486th consecutive game, surpassing Kārlis Skrastiņš.
International play –
Bouwmeester played in 3 World Junior Championships with the Canadian junior team. He became the youngest player to represent Canada at the tournament when he won a bronze medal at the 2000 tournament at the age of 16 years.
He recorded two assists in 2001 as Canada won another bronze medal in the tournament. In 2002, Bouwmeester and the Canadian team won the silver medal, losing the championship game to Russia by 5–4 score.
Bouwmeester first appeared in the senior team at the 2003 World Championships. He finished second in scoring 7 points and was named the tournament’s best defenceman and an all-star as he helped Canada to win the gold medal. Bouwmeester won a second gold medal at the 2004 World Championship, contributing three points in 9 games. He played 737 games between 2004 to 2014 and maintain his longest streak of consecutive games played by a defenseman in the league’s history
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