Saturday, February 06, 2010

Son of USA hockey team's GM killed in car smash

RICHMOND, Indiana — Brendan Burke, the youngest son of the United States Olympic hockey team general manager Brian Burke, was killed Friday in a two-car smash on a snowy highway.

Brendan Burke, 21, had recently come out as a gay man saying at the time he hoped to help end homophobia in the hockey world.

Brian Burke is the general manager of the US men's hockey team that will compete in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games.

Burke also manages the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League.

Police said the younger Burke died at the scene after the Jeep Grand Cherokee he was driving slid into the path of a Ford truck. Burke's 18-year-old passenger Mark Reedy was also killed.

US Olympic Committee chairman Larry Probst said the USOC was "extremely saddened" by Burke's death.

"Our heart goes out to Brian and his family in this very difficult time," Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey, said. "We know the prayers of the entire hockey family, including our Olympic team, are with the Burke family."

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman described Brendan as "a young man of courage and character."

"The National Hockey League grieves tonight for the family and friends of Brendan Burke, a young man of courage and character," Bettman said Friday.

"Words simply cannot express our sorrow over his loss. We send our deepest, most heartfelt condolences to Brendan's father, Brian; his mother, Kerry; everyone in Brendan's family and all who were inspired by his love for hockey."

Brendan is a former amateur goaltender who was hoping to go into hockey management one day.

The Americans first Olympic game is February 16 against Switzerland.

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