Bourdon's death saddens hometown fans, family

Larry Pynn, Vancouver Sun

Published: Thursday, May 29, 2008

The first thing Manon Degrace observed as the RCMP motioned her past the accident scene near Shippagan, N.B., Thursday afternoon was a sneaker on the roadside and bits of a high-powered motorcycle strewn all around.

"I told my mom, 'The guy's dead for sure,'" the motel clerk said.

Degrace's gut reaction proved correct as she next spotted a body covered with a yellow blanket underneath a transport truck that showed damage on the front corner.

National Hockey League tenth overall draft pick Luc Bourdon puts on his Vancouver Canucks cap after being selected by the Canucks during the NHL's 2005 entry draft in Ottawa in this July 30, 2005 file photo.View Larger Image View Larger Image

National Hockey League tenth overall draft pick Luc Bourdon puts on his Vancouver Canucks cap after being selected by the Canucks during the NHL's 2005 entry draft in Ottawa in this July 30, 2005 file photo.

Chris Wattie / REUTERS
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"He came face-to-face with a big transport," she continued. "He went right under it."

Only later did Degrace learn that the victim was hometown hero and Vancouver Canucks defensive prospect Luc Bourdon.

"It's a tragedy, hard to accept," she said in a phone interview. "It's terrible. He had a good life before him, a good job. He was known. The town was proud of him. He'd made it...."

Bourdon, 21, was the Canucks' first round draft pick in 2005 and played 27 games last season with Vancouver scoring two goals. He played 41 regular season games with farm team Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League.

Degrace's brother, Louis, played hockey with Bourdon as kids.

"He said at that time he knew he was going to be good."

Beyond Bourdon's hockey abilities, she said: "I think he was a good person, really was a good guy."

The accident occurred around noon on Highway 113 between Shippagan and Lameque in the northeast corner of New Brunswick. Bourdon died instantly in the head-on crash.

Sgt. Derek Strong said an RCMP collision analyst is assisting in the investigation into the cause of the crash.

Degrace said the accident occurred at a bend in the highway, adding that based on her observations of the crash scene it was Bourdon who crossed the centre line and not the truck driver.

She said weather conditions were windy at the time and that it showered shortly after the accident.

She described the motorcycle as one of "those that go fast, like the big ones, the racers."

Maryse Bourdon, the victim's step-mother, said he had purchased the powerful motorcycle -- his first -- only about three weeks ago.

She said it appears he "lost control" of the machine and that high winds at the time contributed to the accident. Environment Canada showed winds gusting to more than 50 kmh in the area.

Bourdon lived in Shippagan all his life and was raised by his biological mother, Suzanne, as her only child.

The family and community are obviously shocked by events, Bourdon said. "The phone is always ringing, and I have a lot of messages on the Internet. What can we do?"

Shippagan is a predominantly Francophone community of about 3,000 residents on the Acadian Peninsula. The town describes itself as the "New Brunswick Capital of the Commercial Fishing Industry," hauling in herring, lobster, scallop, and crab. It is also the source of peat moss, and home to one three campuses of l'Université de Moncton, as well as the head office of the Acadian Peninsula Campus of the New Brunswick Community College.

lpynn@png.canwest.com



 
 
 

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