<table width=80% align=center border=0><tr><td><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/09/henderson_headshot.jpg align=left hspace=4>I wish I had interviewed Luc Bourdon. I never got the chance. We were never in the room at the same time.
I did pass Luc on Burrard Street late in the season and, as always when I’m standing next to an NHL defenceman, I marveled at how huge, solid and powerful he looked. And how boyish. “Such a sweet baby face”, I thought, “for the job he’s got to do”.
I didn’t know Luc, but I guess, like most Canucks fans, I sort of feel like I did. You spend so much time watching the players, discussing them, ranting about them, berating them when they screw up, agonizing with them when they lose, adoring them when they win. You sometimes fool yourself into thinking that they are part of your life. When they get traded it upsets you. But when one of them dies, especially one so young, so ridiculously young, it just about breaks your heart.
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/03/MAR3008_Canucks-Flames06_t.jpg border=0 align=right vspace=1 hspace=4>I was really enjoying watching Luc grow and develop. I remember feeling hopeful when we drafted him, and being pretty excited during his first, rather successful training camp. I liked the passion he seemed to display when he didn’t quite make the big club. In the ensuing years, I was probably more than once guilty of impatience where Luc was concerned, willing him to hurry up and become a top six blueliner, grumbling about how long it seemed to be taking. Which is stupid, of course. It does take time for most defencemen; it is the exception to the rule that skates right out of junior and into a regular shift in the NHL.
Besides, Luc was coming along. When our defensive core began to implode this season, and he was called up, Luc appeared to have figured it out and seemed to be maturing nicely. He was keeping it simple, making good choices with the puck, and showing flashes of impressive skill. I remember watching him during a game late in the year, when he calmly and smoothly wheeled around, evaded an oncoming player, then made a smart pass and I thought, yes indeed, this kid is going to be alright. I expected to witness even greater improvement in the upcoming season.
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/09/luc_09062007_t.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4>Sadly, we won’t get that chance now. It’s tragic. It’s unfair. There is a consolation, though a small, inadequate one, at best. Most of us spend our whole lives dancing around our dearest desires, perhaps enjoying some success, perhaps not. But, at 21, Luc Bourdon was experiencing what was surely his childhood dream, making a living as a professional hockey player, playing in the NHL. His life will be celebrated and his death mourned by many, especially by those of us who watched him play and enthusiastically chanted “LUUUUUUUCCC”!
My most sincere condolences go out to his family and friends.