Just One Luc
The passion in his eyes, the smile on his face and an uncanny ability to make people laugh is how he will be remembered. |
Luc Bourdon first emerged onto the national stage and into the hearts of the Canucks family when the then 19-year old was drafted tenth overall in 2005 after impressing Canucks management with his raw ability as a member of Val d’Or of the QMJHL. The NHL was coming out of the lockout and Luc, along with his draftmates, would soon represent the new NHL.
Showcasing his hard work playing with the Moncton Wildcats and impressing Vancouver’s staff at training and conditioning camps, Luc would finally get the opportunity to achieve his life’s dream of playing in the NHL when he took to the ice donning a Canucks jersey on October 10, 2006 versus Minnesota.
After nine games with Vancouver in 2006-07, the Canucks chose to further develop his skills with Moncton, Cape Breton and Manitoba.
Luc continued to mature and when significant injuries took their toll on the Canucks blueline during the 2007-08 season, Bourdon would once again get the opportunity to play in the big leagues, soon earning a permanent spot. He travelled from Milwaukee, as a member of the Moose, and joined the Canucks in Colorado. It was a long trip but his excitement to be in the NHL overweighed the exhaustion.
Joining the team at a difficult time of the season, Luc boarded a somber bus with his suitcase in one hand and Guitar Hero in the other, which he had purchased on his road trip with the Moose. Joking about the purchase, he brought laughter to his teammates, alleviating some of the professional pressure they were facing. Perhaps that was the turning point as the Canucks went on to defeat the Avalanche that night and did not lose a game in regulation in the next eight consecutive games.
On November 16, 2007 versus the Minnesota Wild he would continue to fulfill his potential when he scored his first NHL goal. Luc would add another on January 31, 2008 against the Tampa Bay Lightning to bring his career total to two goals and 24 penalty minutes in 36 games played and finished the season 13th among NHL rookies with a plus/minus rating of +7.
“He was a caring young man who was well on his way to reaping some of the rewards for all his hard work,” Vancouver Canucks Assistant General Manager, Steve Tambellini said. “He cared a great deal about his teammates and about his profession.”
A proud native of Shippagan, New Brunswick, the physically gifted Bourdon, who spoke both official languages, also represented and led Canada to victory on three occasions, winning a silver medal at the World Under-18 Championship in 2005, a gold medal at the World Junior Championship in 2006 and a gold medal at the World Junior Championship in 2007.
MORE THAN JUST HOCKEY
His experience on the international stage helped Luc mature both as a person and a hockey player.
“I just enjoyed watching Luc grow over the last couple of years off the ice, from being a shy kid not sure where he fit in, to where he grew to be a confident young man who did fit in,” said Vancouver Canucks Associate Coach Rick Bowness, who works closely with the team’s defenceman. “One of the things I’ll always remember about Luc was watching him at the Special Olympics dinner interacting with the young Special Olympic athletes and how he handled himself and how he went out of his way to make them feel at ease.”
Debbie Butt, Vancouver Canucks Director, Community Partnerships, echoed Bowness’ sentiments.
“Luc was amazing at our Dice & Ice Benefit and performed for a room of over 700 people – all for the benefit of children in BC,” said Butt. “I specifically remember the time he took with young fans at a photo booth at our open practice. He asked them their names, shook their hands and took the little ones and put them on his knee. He was a tender young man.”
“Luc was a very caring and passionate person. He carried himself close to his vest, but here he will not be forgotten,” said Manitoba Moose General Manager, Craig Heisinger, noting that Bourdon made a special effort to make it back to New Brunswick at the end of the season because he had a close friend who was bed-ridden with cancer. “Those are the things that stick with you. Luc matured as a person. The hockey part of it is secondary.”
SUPPORT IN NUMBERS
It’s during times of adversity when people show their true colours and the outpouring of support from Canucks fans and the hockey community for the Bourdon family has been tremendous. Since an initial suggestion on the Canucks.com forum, donations in Luc’s honour from as far away as New Zealand, Great Britain and all across North America have been made to Canuck Place…mostly in the amount of $28 or $28.28 to honour the number Luc wore with the Canucks.
The Canucks also received word that the individual who won Luc’s sweater at the “Jersey off our Back’s Event” on April 5th has generously contacted the organization to give Luc’s last jersey to his family.
The Canucks flag at General Motors Place flies at half mast today, honouring the short, yet distinguished life of defenceman Luc Bourdon. He will be greatly missed, but his memory will be carried on by the Canucks family for years to come.
DONATIONS FOR THE BOURDON FAMILY
On behalf of the Bourdon family, the Vancouver Canucks would like to thank friends, family and fans for their support over the past few days. The Bourdon family respectfully asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Luc Bourdon’s name to IWK Health Centre Foundation or the Association du Hockey Mineur de la Peninsule Acadienne-Division est (AHMPA).