Former Canuck defensemen Luc Bourdon has been named to the 2011 New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame class. The Shippagan, NB native, was a rising star in the NHL before his untimely passing in May of 2008.
Bourdon was drafted by the Canucks, 10th overall in the 2005 NHL entry draft. He played 36 games over two seasons with the Canucks, scoring two goals and adding 24 penalty minutes.
As a child, Bourdon battled adversity after juvenile arthritis confined him to a wheelchair. It was a condition he would eventually overcome.
At the age of 15, Bourdon was drafted 3rd overall in the QMJHL draft in 2003 by the Val d’Or Foreurs. During his minor league career he played 200 games for the Foreurs, the Moncton Wildcats and the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, registering 22 goals and 66 assists.
In addition to his remarkable junior career, Bourdon was a decorated World Junior player for Team Canada, winning gold in 2006 and 2007. He was the highest scoring defenseman during the 2006 tournament. registering six points in six games.
Bourdon was highly thought of, not just as a prospect with great potential, but as a future leader; he was a young man with great character, well respected throughout the Canucks organization.
In a story that came out shortly after his passing, Bourdon anonymously donated $10,000 to a local minor hockey association in New Brunswick for families that couldn’t afford equipment. The donation was revealed posthumously by his former Bantam coach Gilles Cormier.
His best friend on the Canucks, Alex Burrows still speaks highly of Bourdon, the man and the hockey player.
“Luc was a great friend of mine. When he first came in, you could see the way he played with confidence at a young age that he had a great future ahead of him and he would have really evolved into a top player in the league. You look at when he played World Junior with Kris Letang and he was better than Letang then and now you look at Letang in Pittsburgh, he’s one of the top young D-men in the league. Obivously it would be awesome to play with Luc now. He was such a fun person to be around, he was really happy every time he stepped on the ice, he really liked Vancouver as an organization, the city and the team.
“Every game, every national anthem I always think about him and I’m hoping that he’s looking down on me and that he’s able to help me out and able to help the team out.”
The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on May 28th, one day shy of the three year anniversary of Bourdon’s passing.
GAME DAY VS. COYOTES
The Canucks (42-16-9) hit the halfway mark of their season long five game road trip tonight against the Phoenix Coyotes (34-23-10). The Canucks have won two in a row for the first time in a month, after alternating wins and losses for 13 games.
Mason Raymond will miss tonight’s game after suffering a stinger in the second period of Sunday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks. Jeff Tambellini is expected to take his spot on the second line, while recent call up Victor Oreskovich will play on the fourth line with Tanner Glass and Maxim Lapierre.
“He (Raymond) was close, but considering where we are right now in the standings, I think with an extra 24-48 hours he should be 100 percent by San Jose, so it’s just the smart thing to do,’ said Coach Vigneault.
Newly acquired Chris Higgins skated with the team today, and could play towards the end of the road trip.
“I don’t think he’s gonna need much, he looked real good to me this morning out there, I think with a good practice tomorrow and a good game day skate there is a good chance we might see him in San Jose,” said Coach Vigneault.
Higgins has been itching to play with his new teammates after being dealt by Florida last week.
“It felt a lot better than I thought it was gonna feel, it’s the first time I’ve ever broken a finger, I didn’t know what to expect, but it felt pretty good, just happy to be practicing with the team again,” said Higgins.
Fresh off his 300th career win, and 30th win of the season Saturday afternoon against the LA Kings, Roberto Luongo will start in net. In his last game against the Coyotes Luongo registered a shutout in 6-0 Canucks victory.
Ilya Bryzgalov gets the start in net for the Coyotes. He is 7-7-1 all time against the Canucks, with a 2.39 Goals Against Average and a .920 Save Percentage.
The Coyotes currently sit 7th in the Western Conference, but a win tonight could move them up 4th. Phoenix are scoring by committee with eight players above 10 goals, but not a single one above 20.
If the game comes down to the penalty kill the Canucks have got to like their chances. The Canucks have allowed opponents just one goal in their last thirty power play opportunities, while the Coyotes have surrendered 11 power play goals in their last 26 attempted kills.
After the game the Canucks head to San Jose to face the Sharks on Thursday, before wrapping up their road trip in Calgary on Saturday night.