The Stanley Cup Final is a celebration of hockey.
However, Penguins defenseman Kris Letang hit the ice with a heavy heart.
When news of Vancouver defenseman Luc Bourdon’s fatal motorcycle crash reached Letang on Thursday, his thoughts immediately went away from the hockey rink and to his best friend and his family.
“I was going out of my apartment and someone called me, my agent. And just told me, like, what happened to Luc. It was so tough to handle it, because Luc was one of my great friends,” Letang said. “He was someone I can like always talk about my tough times and someone that always liked to have fun.”
The news of his best friend’s passing left Letang stunned.
“Yeah, I don’t know why, but [Friday] morning I had no, like, energy,” he said. “Even if I wanted to skate, I couldn’t approach – it’s like I lost so much energy when it happened.”
According to media reports, police said Bourdon was killed when he lost control of his motorcycle on a road near his home in Shippagan in northern New Brunswick around 12:30 p.m. Thursday. He reportedly struck a tractor-trailer and was killed instantly.
“I last talked to him three days ago. 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.”
According to Letang, Bourdon had just recently purchased the motorcycle.
“He got it three days ago. He was pretty excited. He’s a guy who had fun with, like, sports stuff. Like Seadoo and sport cars and whatever,” he said. “We talked about it. We know it was dangerous, but he had fun with it. I know he didn’t speed with it. He just had, like, a bad move or something. Those things, you have, like, no second chance.”
Letang, also a defenseman, won a pair of World Junior Championship gold medals alongside Bourdon while playing for Team Canada and played junior hockey together.
“Luc and I went through two seasons in Val D’Or
. We had so much fun. Like after we played the World Juniors together and we won two gold medals together,” he said. “We were playing together. We were roommates together. We shared, like, everything together.
“We were supposed to go on vacation this summer, and he was coming to Montreal all summer long to train. And he was a guy really funny. Like only close people could know Luc really well. He was a guy who always would stick up for you and always there for you.”
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby played against Bourdon as well.
“It’s tough. The hockey world is a small community. And, I think a lot of guys probably crossed paths with him at some point. Personally, I was drafted with him in Junior and the NHL draft, I saw him there,” he said. “It's sad to see someone that young have something happen like that. It certainly makes you realize how valuable life is and how lucky we are. But it’s an unfortunate incident for sure.”
The NHL plans to have a moment of silence before Saturday night’s Stanley Cup Final Game 4 at Mellon Arena according to Commissioner Gary Bettman in the following statement:
"The National Hockey League family grieves with the family, friends and teammates of Luc Bourdon. We send heartfelt condolences to the Vancouver Canucks’ organization and the community of Shippagan, N.B. To honor a young life ended long before its promise could be fulfilled, a moment of silence will be observed Saturday night prior to Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final."