Former teammates on Bourdon's death
Wings' Helm calls death of Canucks' defenseman 'a big tragedy'
Friday, 05.30.2008 / 6:25 PM / News
By Michael Caples - Detroit Red Wings Staff Writer
|Kris Letang (12) and Luc Bourdon (6) were Team Canada teammates in the 2006 World Junior Hockey Championships at Vancouver's General Motors Place. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)|
Bourdon, a Vancouver Canucks defenseman, died Thursday morning when he lost control of his new motorcycle and collided with an oncoming tractor-trailer in his hometown of Shippagan, New Brunswick. He was 21.
“We were talking about his motorcycle, and I never thought it would happen,” Letang said. “I can't still believe it, because when you lose someone close like that, you can't do much. And it's so tough to me. Like right now, he was my best friend.”
Bourdon and Letang were roommates while playing two seasons for Val d'Or Foreurs of the Quebec Major Junior League. The pair anchored the blue line for Team Canada en route to a gold medal winning performance in the 2006 World Junior Championship.
“We had so much fun,” Letang said. “Like after we played the World Juniors together and we won two gold medals together. We were playing together. We were roommates together. We shared, like, everything together.”
Letang did not practice Friday morning, saying he felt no motivation to take the ice.
“Yeah, I don't know why, but this morning I had no, like, energy,” he said. “Even if I wanted to skate, I couldn't. It's like I lost so much energy when it happened yesterday.”
Red Wings center Darren Helm, who played with Bourdon in the 2007 World Juniors, told Michael Zuidema of the Grand Rapids Press that the news was a shock.
“I heard about it from (Darren) McCarty when we had our little time off,” Helm said. “Obviously I played with him at the World Juniors, he was a great guy, it’s a big tragedy and he will certainly be missed.
“He was just taken away too early.”
Bourdon split the 2007-08 season between Vancouver and its American Hockey League affiliate in Manitoba. In 27 games with the Canucks, he scored two goals and had a plus-7 rating. In 41 games in Manitoba, he had six goals and eight assists.
Letang said he and his friends had planned a vacation together once the playoffs ended.
“We were supposed to go on vacation this summer, and he was coming to Montreal all summer long to train,” Letang said. “He was a really funny guy.”
The NHL will honor Bourdon before Game 4 on Saturday, holding a moment of silence before the opening face off.
HUDLER’S MEMORIES: Red Wings center Jiri Hudler said that the Stanley Cup finals has been the time of his life, and he’s happy to share it with his family.
“This is a great time for families, you know,” the Red Wings’ center said. “My uncle’s here, my friends, they hang out, they watch obviously the games, they’re excited to be here. They came a couple days before the finals started. You want to have your close family members to see all of this.”
Hudler said that his first Stanley Cup memory was when he was nine-years-old and watching the Montreal Canadiens beat Los Angeles in 1993 with his dad.
Hudler said that he watched as many Stanley Cup finals as he could growing up.
“I watched the finals, obviously it was a lot of excitement,” he said. “It was three in the morning, you know. Woke up, watched, fall asleep, woke up again, you know? I had to go to school obviously, sometimes if it was overtime we’d watch it at the school, so it was a lot of fun.”
The 24-year-old said that Lord Stanley’s Cup is a big deal back in his native Czech Republic, along with international competition.
“The Czech Republic loves hockey,” Hudler said. “We’ve got hockey and soccer, there’s a lot of hockey fans, and obviously if you play for the national team, and you play for your country its even bigger, we’ve got good hockey going back home, so that they watch the NHL players. It’s a good thing back home.”