Monday, June 02, 2008


Luc Bourdon Vancouver Canucks 1987-2008

The entire Acadian community is in mourning at this time following the tragic death of Luc Bourdon.
Bourdon was twenty-one years old. He had returned to the community of Shippagan this spring, following the hockey season that he split between Vancouver and Manitoba, the Canucks’ American Hockey League affiliate.
He was a first round draft choice of the Canucks in the 2005 draft, chosen tenth overall. He played significant roles on the past two Gold Medal winning Canadian teams at the World Junior Championships. He was named to the All Star Team in 2006.
Like many other young National Hockey League players, Bourdon had dedicated himself to the task of becoming a professional hockey player. Although he was only in his first year in the NHL, he had not taken a holiday in five years, according to his uncle, Robert Boucher. He had scheduled a month at home, with his friends, playing a little golf, hanging out. Some of his friends had motorcycles, and Bourdon decided to get one for himself. He received his motorcycle licence two weeks ago.

The Mounties who investigated the accident said that the winds were “gusting heavily” in the area. Boudon was on the road between Shippagan and Lameque when he lost control of the machine, crossed to the other side, and collided head on with a transport truck. He was killed instantly.

The NHL paid its respects to the young star by observing a moment of silence prior to the Stanley Cup game Monday night between the Red Wings and the Penguins.

Compounding the tragedy for the people in his community is the fact that Bourdon was a wonderful person. “He loved to have fun,” his uncle lamented in a news conference in Shippagan. “He was always ready to help people out-people in the family as well as others. We lost our little Luc, but I think Shippagan as well has lost someone important.”

Bourdon’s accident is the third fatal accident in the past ten years that has claimed the life of an NHL player. Peterborough’s Steve Chiasson played thirteen seasons in the NHL before he was killed in 1999. In 2003, Atlanta’s Dan Snyder was killed in an accident which also resulted in serious injuries for teammate Dany Heatley.

Pelle Lindbergh was the first European goaltender to win the Vezina Trophy, annually presented to the best goalie in the NHL. He had been selected by the Philadelphia Flyers in the Second Round of the 1979 draft, and in 1982-83, he was named to the All-Rookie team. He led the NHL with 40 victories in 1984-85, and was named to the league’s First Team All Star team.

The following year, he drove his customized Porsche 930 Turbo into a wall in front of an elementary school in New Jersey. He was fatally injured, and died the next day. He topped the fan voting for the 1986 All Star game. It was the first time that any player had been chosen posthumously for an all star team in a major sport. Although his number 31 has never been retired by the Flyers, no player has worn it since Lindbergh’s death.

Wikipedia, the network’s sometimes trusty resource, lists sixty-one professional hockey players who have died during their playing careers. One Canadian, Allan Davidson, was killed in the First World War. Two others, Red Garrett and Joe Turner, were killed in the Second World War.

Bill Barilko won four Stanley Cups with the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1947 to 1951. He scored the Cup winning goal in overtime 1951, and was killed in a plane crash later that summer.

All in all, senseless tragedies in which young men have perished far too soon. We mourn their loss.

James Hurst

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