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NHL star Jay Bouwmeester pleads guilty to impaired driving in Edmonton court

"Hopefully, I'm sure this will be the last time I see you in court," Judge Michael Allen told the Florida Panthers player in provincial court. Bouwmeester, 23, was also banned from driving in Canada for a year.

He must also pay a $150 victim surcharge.

After the guilty plea, a charge of operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of more than .08 was withdrawn.

Bouwmeester, who will make US$2.25 million this season, was arrested Aug. 12, 2006, after driving erratically on Edmonton's south side around 4 a.m.

An off-duty officer said he had to swerve to avoid getting hit by Bouwmeester's car and later saw the player make an illegal U-Turn across two lanes of traffic.

When pulled over, court heard, the former Medicine Hat Tigers star told the officer he knew he was drunk.

Bouwmeester did not address the court and declined comment outside.

Court heard he did not have a prior criminal record or drinking problems.

He was chosen third overall in the 2002 NHL draft, has played for Canada at the IIHF World Hockey Championship and was an NHL all-star last season.


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