More than 1,800 people paid their respects to Luc Bourdon at a memorial service in Shippagan, N.B., yesterday, and even more are expected at his funeral today.
The 21-year-old Canuck defenceman died last week after crashing his motorcycle near his family home.
Shippagan’s town clerk and one of the 100 funeral organizers, Nathalie Robichaud, said she expects a full house at the town’s hockey arena to say goodbye in what she said will be a “very special” but “humble” day.
“Our arena can hold about 2,000 people, and we’re planning for 2,000,” she said. “We’ve transformed it, it’s beautiful.”
Robichaud had the opportunity to catch up with Bourdon last summer at an event she organized at the arena, but her relationship with him began when his mother first brought him to her for a haircut.
“I cut his hair for many years,” she said. “Oh my god, he was a young child … I think his mom brought him to me about 16 years ago.”
The long-time resident of Shippagan described the Acadian town as a tight-knit, friendly community where everyone is friends and knows each other well, making it even harder to handle Bourdon’s death.
“Everybody knows Luc here … everyone is a fan also.”
At 2 p.m., family, friends and fans will honour Bourdon where his hockey career began, in what Robichaud anticipates will be “a class hockey game.”