Vancouver Canucks defenceman Luc Bourdon is dead.
Bourdon, 21, was killed in a motorcycle accident near his home in Shippagan, N.B., on Thursday morning, May 29.
Bourdon was the Canucks' first-round draft choice, 10th overall, in 2005, after playing his junior career with Val-d'Or of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Bourdon returned to junior after a promising Canucks training camp Ñ nearly making the team as an 18-year-old Ñ but injury limited his playing time between Val d'Or and the Mocton Wildcats, to whom he was traded that season.
Bourdon played his first nine NHL games the following season with the Canucks, then returned to the Canucks for 27 games in 2007-08, scoring a pair of goals and showing the poise that had been promised since his heralded draft three years earlier.
Bourdon faced a lot of criticism as he was slow to develop as a pro. But in late February, he addressed that criticism.
"Back home they think I'm washed [up] already," Bourdon told The Province's Ben Kuzma. "It's true.
"They don't understand why I'm not playing in the NHL [full-time] because
I've been around for four years now.
"The first year I was pretty close and they thought I was supposed to be in
the NHL the next year. It didn't work out so they pretty much thought I was
Canucks assistant coach Rick Bowness responded: "You've got to mature off the ice before you can mature on the ice. The way he's handling himself, he's far more comfortable. He's growing up.
"I know his background and I know how we grow up in the Maritimes. We don't care how much money you have or what you do for a living.
"It's irrelevant. We care more about what type of person you are."
Published in The Vancouver Sun from May 29 to June 28, 2008