Born September 27, 1983 (age 28) in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Defenseman and alternate captain for the Calgary Flames
Bouwmeester has been a topic of discussion lately not only for his fun-to-say last name but because one of my friends has been talking about him a lot. Why not learn more about the guy with the fun name? Bouwmeester’s dad, a teacher and coach who also played defense in college, said his son was able to stickhandle at an early age and learned to skate soon after he learned to walk. While he dabbled in other sports, hockey was his primary choice and he honed his skills in a backyard rink and in the basement of the family home. He started out with the Medicine Hat Tigers (awesome name), performing so well that many thought he’d be picked first overall in his draft year, 2002. He was picked third by the Florida Panthers, behind Rick Nash and Kari Lehtonen, who are rocking the same terrible hairstyle in this photo. Yowch. He began a pattern of very good attendance by appearing in all 82 games in his rookie year. His first goal came in November 2002 against the Blackhawks and he performed well during his first campaign. He even got better in his second year though he missed some games due to a foot injury.
During the lockout, he played with Florida’s AHL affiliate the San Antonio Rampage, but he had trouble adapting to minor league play at first. They used him on the Chicago Wolves for their playoff run when the Rampage didn’t make it. Once the NHL was back on, he had a career-best season in many metrics and was on Team Canada for the 2006 Olympics when Scott Niedermeyer was hurt. (He also had a low point when he was arrested for DUI in Edmonton during the offseason. Kids, always get a designated driver.) In 2007, he was in the All-Star Game in Dallas and continued to play every game. 2008 saw him continuing to play every game and lead the NHL in ice time per game with 27 minutes, 28 seconds. While Florida wanted to keep him around a long time more, he signed just a one-year contract so he could become an unrestricted free agent after it. 2009 saw another trip to the All-Star Game, where he scored a goal, and Florida traded him to Calgary.
With Calgary, he has experienced a slight dropoff in goal production but continues to churn out the assists at a steady clip and to keep his perfect attendance record going. He has not missed a single NHL game since that foot injury-related absence before the lockout. Last year, he played in all 82 games, scored 4 goals, got 20 assists and spent 44 penalty minutes. Maybe he’ll keep his ironman streak going this season…and score a little more?