North of the Border
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Mickey Renaud. Luc Bourdon. Alexei Cherepanov. Don Sanderson.

All these young men had bright and promising futures ahead of them. Those futures were all tragically taken away in a heartbeat. They were all robbed of the right to play the game that they love, but most importantly, they were robbed of their right to live.

Mickey Renaud, age 19, suddenly collapsed and passed away in his home in Februrary, 2008. The Windsor Spitfires' Captain was a very talented hockey player and was considered a hero in his community. He was the heart and soul of the Spitfires, and was a great leader who was always looking out for his fellow teammates.

Away from the rink, he was known as a good kid who loved life. He was often found helping the less fortunate and hopefully he can serve as a reminder of how important it is to enjoy every moment of your life.

Photo: After the funeral services, amateur hockey players tap their sticks on the ground as a fitting farewell to their hero, Mickey Renaud.

Luc Bourdon's death shocked the hockey world. The promising 21-year-old Vancouver Canucks defenseman was killed in a motorcycle accident in May of 2008. Luc had a great future set out for himself and was going to be a fixture on the Canucks' blueline for many years to come.

He was your ultimate team player, on and off the ice. Hard-working, passionate, and caring are just a few of the traits that described this young man. Bourdon is proof that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible.

Photo: Luc Bourdon shows off his great smile, while holding the puck from his first NHL goal on November 16, 2007.

Alexei Cherepanov, a highly-skilled Russian, died at the age of 19 in a KHL game in Russia. He died shortly after collapsing on the bench. He possessed unbelievable talent and the sky was the limit for him. He was destined to a great career in the New York Rangers' organization.

According to his agent, Jay Grossman, he was a great kid. He had a great smile and was an outstanding player with a great future on and off the ice. Cherepanov's tragic indicident has shown us how valuable each day really is.

Photo: Alexei Cherepanov tries on his new uniform, after the New York Rangers drafted him 17th overall in 2007.

Don Sanderson was the most recent tragedy to sadden the hockey community. In a hockey fight during a senior game, he struck his head on the ice which caused him to suffer head trauma. After three weeks in a coma, he passed on.

Sanderson was a bright student who had a promising career in front of him, in whatever he chose to do. He was a great all-around person whose death was mourned by hockey fans across the continent. This tragic incident has sparked a debate about the role of fighting in hockey.

Photo: Players pay their respects to Don Sanderson, a beloved teammate and friend.

The hockey world hasn't just mourned the loss of great young hockey players. We have mourned the loss of great young people, who were just as good off the ice as on it. They will never be forgotten.

 

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