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TJ Phaserman

Vancouver Canucks defenceman Luc Bourdon killed in motorcyle accident

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SHIPPAGAN, New Brunswick - Luc Bourdon, a promising rookie defenseman with the Vancouver Canucks, was killed Thursday when his motorcycle struck a tractor-trailer in a crash near his hometown. He was 21.


His death was confirmed by sister Eve Bourdon and stepmother Maryse Godin. Both declined further comment when reached at the family's home in Shippagan.


Police wouldn't confirm the identity of the victim but said a motorcyclist was killed in the early afternoon on a road between Shippagan and Lemeque.


"Luc was an extremely talented player with a bright future," Canucks general manager Mike Gillis said in a statement. "He brought great passion to the game and was a valued team member on and off the ice."


Bourdon's agent, Kent Hughes, called his client a winner and a competitor.


"There was no quit in him," said Hughes, who knew Bourdon since the player was 15. "He persevered through a lot. He was a great guy and a great teammate."


Bourdon was the first-round draft pick of the Canucks in 2005, selected 10th overall. He split time this season with the Canucks and the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League. In 27 games with the Canucks, he scored twice and had no assists.


"Through hard work and perseverance, Luc was able to realize his dream of becoming an NHL player," Paul Kelly, executive director of the players' union. "Luc had a promising life and career ahead of him and he will certainly be missed."


Bourdon played on the Canadian team that won the gold medal at the 2007 world junior hockey championship in Vancouver and made the tournament's all-star team. He helped Canada win another gold at the 2007 tournament in Sweden.


Bourdon played for Val d'Or, Moncton and Cape Breton of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League before turning pro.

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his number will nd should be retired, I think with this in and what happen to big Ben Roethlisberger. of the Steelers teams should put stuff limiting what risks a pro athlete that the team invests money in can do

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Pittsburgh Penguins retired the number 21 of Michel Briére who died in a car accident in 1971. It's a terrible tragedy, he was set to be not a great player, but a tough physical checker to help the Canucks. He'll be missed.

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Press Release from the Vancouver Canucks:

It is with deep regret that the Vancouver Canucks announced that 21-year-old defenceman Luc Bourdon passed away in a motor vehicle accident on Thursday morning.


“We are deeply saddened by today’s news and on behalf of the entire Vancouver Canucks organization, I would like to extend my sincere sympathies to Luc’s family,” said Canucks General Manager, Mike Gillis. “Luc was an extremely talented player with a bright future. He brought great passion to the game and was a valued team member on and off the ice. He will be greatly missed.”


Police said Bourdon was killed when he lost control of his motorcycle on a road near his home in Shippagan in northern New Brunswick around 12:30 P.M. He reportedly struck a tractor-trailer and was killed instantly.


Both Gillis and Assistant GM Steve Tambellini were travelling through Toronto Thursday when the news of the tragedy broke.


“The reaction when you have events like this occur, is obviously shock and sadness for a promising career that was just about to begin in the NHL, and for Luc’s family. It’s a challenging time for everybody.”


Tambellini, who was part of the management team that drafted Bourdon 10th overall in 2005, described him not only as a talented young defenseman, but a young man who was just beginning to realize his potential both on and off the ice.


“The one thing that people who didn’t know Luc really well might not have realized, was that he had so much passion and emotion in him - not only just as a player, but as a person starting to emerge as a professional athlete.”


“You could sense, when you got to know Luc, that when he did emerge as an NHL regular, that he would be an impactful player. He’s a passionate, passionate human being that cared a great deal about his teammates and a great deal about his profession.”


Tambellini also lauded the Shippagan, New Brunswick-native for his heart and personality.


“Luc had a great sense of humour. At times he wouldn’t show it, but when you got to know him… he loved joking back and forth with his teammates. He was a caring young man that was well on his way to reaping some of the rewards of all the hard work he put as a young man... It’s just a sad and horrific day for Luc and his family.”


Manitoba Mooose Vice-President & General Manager, Craig Heisinger, watched Bourdon make the transition from junior to professional last year in Winnipeg. He echoed Tambellini’s sentiments.


“Luc was a truly passionate person who was also hard-working, and caring of his teammates. He was a very talented player who made a great impact on the organization in a short period of time. It is a big loss for the Manitoba Moose family.”


It was only three years ago that Bourdon was an impressive junior defenseman picked 10th overall in the 2005 Draft.


Despite an outstanding rookie debut at training camp, Bourdon did not make the cut and was returned to the Val D'Or Foreurs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Undeterred, Bourdon continued to work on his game, twice earning a spot on Canada's gold-medal winning World Junior Championship teams. He was evetually rewarded with a nine-game promotion to the Canucks at the outset of the 2007 season.


“He blew the coaches away with his poise and strength as such a young guy coming in,” said Tambellini, remebering Bourdon’s first camp. “It’s not often that you see players that age - especially at that position - look that at ease. Our coaching staff was quite impressed. We thought we might just have him stay for a game or two at main camp, but every time we tried to send him back, he kept playing so well we had to have one more look.”


Bourdon finally made the step to full-time professional this past season playing 41 games for Manitoba at the American Hockey League level where he had six goals and eight assists.


Bourdon was promoted to the Canucks several times through the 2007-08 season. He played 27 NHL games registering two goals and a plus-7 rating. He played in the NHL for most of November, February and March before returning to Manitoba for the Calder Cup Playoffs.


Gillis said the Canucks organization had not yet been able to contact Bourdon’s family as of Thursday afternoon, adding that they’ll “give them some time and just try to move ahead with the most compassion and support we can.”


Tambellini said Bourdon's death is a reminder "that there are more important things than hockey. We are more concerned with Luc's family because obviously this is a horrific time for them."


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