The news of Luc Bourdon’s death travelled quickly through a devastated Maritime hockey community yesterday.
Bourdon, a Shippagan, N.B., native who played for the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in 2006-07, died at age 21 in a motorcycle crash near his hometown. He had played 36 games in the NHL with the Vancouver Canucks.
“When I got the call, I couldn’t believe it … Everything came to a stop around me,” said Hammonds Plains native Brad Marchand, who won a gold medal as a teammate of Bourdon’s with Canada at the 2007 world junior championship.
“A lot of people are mourning over his death. A lot of people had a lot of love for him. A lot of people cared for him. And a lot of people are going to miss him greatly.”
Bourdon’s stepmother, Maryse Godin Bourdon, fought back tears as she told Metro the gifted defenceman was pronounced dead at the scene at around 12:30 p.m.
“He had a very tragic accident with his bike,” she said. “I was there … and it was very bad. We can say nothing.”
Shippagan RCMP have not confirmed the victim’s identity, but released a report that said a motorcycle driver died in a head-on collision with an oncoming transport truck on Highway 113 near Lameque, N.B. An investigation is ongoing.
Canucks general manager Mike Gillis said in a statement the organization is “deeply saddened” by the news.
Bourdon showed tremendous promise in his short career. He was a first-round pick of the Canucks (10th overall) and won two gold medals with Canada’s world junior team.
Marchand, who was actually traded for Bourdon in a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League transaction in 2006, heard the news from Bourdon’s former Moncton Wildcats teammates and HRM natives Alexi Pianosi and Nathan Welton.
“He was an unbelievable hockey player, very gifted,” Marchand said. “He was one of those defencemen you hate to play against but you love to have on your team.”
The Screaming Eagles acquired Bourdon midway through the 2006-07 season, and the 6-foot-2, 200-pounder helped the team advance to the QMJHL semifinals.
Eagles president Paul MacDonald called Bourdon a “very quiet, reserved young man” and a “very good teammate” who “fit in right away” when he arrived in Sydney.
“Although he was in Cape Breton for a very short time, he enjoyed his time here and he was a true professional,” MacDonald said. “He loved playing hockey, he loved his teammates, and he loved his hometown and his family. It is a sad day.”