At 35 years of age, Bouwmeester is also one of the oldest players to win (not far behind Pavel Datsyuk and Slava Fetisov, both of whom were 39).
Such is his reputation and longevity, Bouwmeester had the honour of being second in line to hoist the Cup. Captain Alex Pietrangelo was first, of course, and after his celebratory lift he turned to the veteran Bouwmeester.
“This is what you play for,” he enthused on ice soon after. “This is a testament to our team. We’ve gone through so much this year. It’s a crazy story. We’re a special group. Now we have something with each other for the rest of our lives. We were relentless. When we had a bad game, we bounced back. We never gave up. It’s pretty surreal right now. It’s been an amazing journey. It’s crazy how a long career can go by pretty fast.”
Thinking a mile a minute, he also had a chance to reflect on his childhood. “My dad coached me when I was younger,” Bouwmeester explained. His father played for the University of Alberta Golden Bears, and that’s as far as Jay’s ambitions early in life. “He taught me everything I know about hockey. It’s so special for my family and the people I get to share this with. When I was a kid, I never dreamed about anything more than playing for the Golden Bears.”
Born in Edmonton, Alberta, Bouwmeester first represented Canada at an IIHF event at the 2000 World Juniors as a 16-year-old. He played in three U20s, winning two bronze and a silver.
His first senior event was the 2003 Worlds in Helsinki, made famous by Anson Carter’s golden goal against Sweden that was confirmed only after a lengthy video review. Bouwmeester was named IIHF Directorate Best Defenceman that year.
After winning a second gold a year later, Bouwmeester was named to Canada’s team for the 2004 World Cup, which Canada also won.
He also played at the 2006 Olympics, when Canada finished a disappointing 7th, and at the 2008 Worlds in Quebec City, winning a silver in the IIHF’s centennial season. He later played at the 2012 Worlds (5th) and the 2016 World Cup, another Canadian victory in Toronto.
“Bo” was drafted third overall by Florida in 2002, and during his 16-year NHL career and nearly 1,200 regular-season games has played for only three teams: Florida (2002-09), Calgary (2009-12), and the Blues (2012-present). It was with St. Louis when he for the first time played in the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2013.
The win was remarkable on both a personal and team level. Bouwmeester underwent hip surgery last year and was slow to recover, even being a healthy scratch this year. And the team made the greatest recovery in NHL history. On 3rd January, the Blues were dead last among the league’s 31 teams, but fought back to make the playoffs and then make an improbable run to glory.
“It's crazy," Bouwmeester added. "You go through times where you have ups and downs throughout your career and you always see lots of guys and hear guys that end up winning, talking that you know it's so hard. To finally do it is, I don't know. I'm kind of dumbfounded."
The St. Louis Cup win also helped three other Canadians move to within one event of joining the TGC. Ryan O’Reilly had previously won gold with Canada at the 2015 and 2016 Worlds and now needs Olympic gold for TGC membership; captain Alex Pietrangelo won Olympic gold in 2014 and now needs a gold at the Worlds; and, Brayden Schenn, a teammate of O’Reilly’s at the 2015 Worlds, now also needs Olympic gold for membership.
Interestingly, when Finland won World Championship gold last month in Bratislava, every member of the team was winning its first Triple Gold Club component, so for now all are very far away still from joining hockey’s most exclusive club.
Click here for all Triple Gold Clup members.