After suffering from a cardiac episode during a recent game, St. Louis Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester will be hanging up his skates for the remainder of the NHL season.
On Wednesday, Bouwmeester spoke publicly for the first time since the Feb. 11 incident during a press conference, thanking the medical team for their quick response and giving an update on his status for the season.
“It happened in the absolute best place that it could happen because of all the protocols they have in place and how people responded so quickly,” he said. “No. 1, they saved my life and No. 2, the fact that they could get on it so fast was very helpful.”
Due to the health scare, the athlete, 36, will not play for the rest of the season or in the playoffs, Doug Armstrong, the team’s general manager shared.
Bouwmeester will continue to be around the team and will become an unrestricted free agent after the season ends.
“As a hockey player, I’d like to play hockey, so I’d sure like to be out there, but when you put everything in perspective, it’s OK to just take a step back right now,” the defenseman explained.
The incident, which Armstrong called a “cardiac episode,” occurred with about eight minutes remaining in the game’s first period at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
“It all just came pretty suddenly,” Bouwmeester said of the scare on Wednesday. “Everything up to that point was normal. I hadn’t been sick or had much going on. It was completely out of the blue.”
The game, tied with a score of 1-1 at the time, was postponed and has since been rescheduled for March 11 in Anaheim, according to the NHL.
Bouwmeester admitted during the conference that the cardiac episode was “a scary thing,” however, he revealed that “everything has been going pretty good lately.”
While the hockey pro has to abide by certain restrictions, he said he can “still live a pretty normal life.”
Bouwmeester was in his 1,241st NHL game when he suffered the cardiac episode, according to NHL.com. He has played for the Blues for eight seasons.