NHL

Blues leaning on their dads during annual fathers trip after Bouwmeester's collapse

Jay Bouwmeester's cardiac episode was a scary experience for the St. Louis Blues. Even for a bunch of tough hockey players, having dad around certainly helps.

Parents providing valuable counselling to sons in wake of d-man's cardiac episode

Anaheim Ducks' Max Jones, second from right, greets two members of the St. Louis Blues after defenceman Jay Bouwmeester suffered a cardiac episode that caused the game to be postponed on Tuesday. (Mark J. Terrill/The Associated Press)

Jay Bouwmeester's cardiac episode was a scary experience for the St. Louis Blues.

Even for a bunch of tough hockey players, having dad around certainly helps.

St. Louis is on its annual father's trip, and the dads are providing some valuable counselling after the 36-year-old Bouwmeester collapsed in the first period of Tuesday's game at Anaheim. A defibrillator was used to revive the veteran defenceman before he was taken to a hospital.

The Blues and their fathers stayed overnight in Southern California before taking a chartered flight to Las Vegas for Thursday night's game against the Golden Knights.

Brian O'Reilly, the father of centre Ryan O'Reilly and a high-performance coach, shared a private conversation with his son and was also asked to speak to the team.

"Just being a dad, I had the same kind of conversation that I had with [Ryan]," the senior O'Reilly said. "It was an important aspect of 'You're facing a situation of trauma and there's vicarious trauma for people in it.' Bringing up people's awareness about what happens to performance and how you process and the need to process it and process it in your own way. That was kind of the theme of our conversation."

WATCH | Bouwmeester collapses on bench:

The Blues' defenceman left the bench on a stretcher after collapsing during a break in play in the first period. 0:50

St. Louis' three captains — Alexander Steen, Alex Pietrangelo and O'Reilly — all spoke after morning skate. They shared the same viewpoint; it was nice having their fathers to lean on after what happened Tuesday.

"It's a different vibe with the dads around and you can really see how guys are gelling together more now than ever," Pietrangelo said. "We were already a close group, but to have the dads here too watching the sons lean on their dads, and dads leaning on each other. Bow's our teammate but a lot of the dads know [Bouwmeester's father] Dan really well. We've played together for a while too. So it's just good for our locker room to stick together too."

WATCH | Blues give positive update on Bouwmeester's health:

St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong gives an update on defenceman Jay Bouwmeester, who collapsed on the bench Tuesday night against the Anaheim Ducks following a cardiac episode. 10:41

The matchup with Vegas was the first game for the reigning Stanley Cup champions since Tuesday's game against the Ducks was postponed. Bouwmeester remains in the hospital.

"It's very nice to have our dads here, kind of help cope with everything that's happening," the younger O'Reilly said. "Obviously everyone's still very concerned. Guys I think are still shook up. Just to get back into the routine of hockey, things we're comfortable in doing, it's a nice distraction to get back in the hockey mindset."

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.