Jay Bouwmeester (born September 27, 1983 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) is a defenseman currently playing for the Florida Panthers of the NHL.
From a young age, Jay was a prized prospect, and he was regarded as a future star even as a sixteen year-old, playing for the Medicine Hat Tigers of the Western Hockey League. As with so many young prospects, from Wayne Gretzky to Alexandre Daigle to Sidney Crosby, the cycles of being hyped, becoming overrated, and the being underrated to compensate meant that, somewhat unexpectedly, Jay was drafted third in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, behind Rick Nash and Kari Lehtonen. However, he played for the Panthers later that year, and many were impressed with his play, especially for an eighteen year-old.
Jay is considered to have exceptional skating ability and hockey sense, and, with his 6'4" frame and package of skills, he is frequently projected to contend for Norris Trophies in the near future.
Jay played for Team Canada in the 2003 Men's World Hockey Championship in Finland and helped the team go on to win the gold medal. He was also named to the 2004 World Championship team that won the gold medal again.
In September of 2004 Jay played for Team Canada at the World Cup of Hockey. Jay was solid as Canada won the tournament.
On February 8, 2006, Hockey Canada announced Bowmeester would be added to the 2006 Olympic lineup in place of injured defenceman Scott Niedermayer.