SHIPPAGAN, New Brunswick Luc Bourdon, a promising rookie defenseman with the Vancouver Canucks, was killed Thursday when his motorcycle struck a tractor-trailer in a crash near his hometown. He was 21.
His death was confirmed by sister Eve Bourdon and stepmother Maryse Godin. Both declined further comment when reached at the family's home in Shippagan.
Police wouldn't confirm the identity of the victim but said a motorcyclist was killed in the early afternoon on a road between Shippagan and Lemeque.
"Luc was an extremely talented player with a bright future," Canucks general manager Mike Gillis said in a statement. "He brought great passion to the game and was a valued team member on and off the ice."
Bourdon's agent, Kent Hughes, called his client a winner and a competitor.
"There was no quit in him," said Hughes, who knew Bourdon since the player was 15. "He persevered through a lot. He was a great guy and a great teammate."
Bourdon was the first-round draft pick of the Canucks in 2005, selected 10th overall. He split time this season with the Canucks and the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League. In 27 games with the Canucks, he scored twice and had no assists.
"Through hard work and perseverance, Luc was able to realize his dream of becoming an NHL player," Paul Kelly, executive director of the players' union. "Luc had a promising life and career ahead of him and he will certainly be missed."
Bourdon played on the Canadian team that won the gold medal at the 2007 world junior hockey championship in Vancouver and made the tournament's all-star team. He helped Canada win another gold at the 2007 tournament in Sweden.
Bourdon played for Val d'Or, Moncton and Cape Breton of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League before turning pro.