Fri Feb 05 11:18pm EST
Tragic news breaking tonight as Brendan Burke, son of Toronto Maple Leafs president and general manager Brian Burke, was killed this afternoon in a car accident near Economy, Ind.
From the Maple Leafs:
"We are saddened to report that Brendan Burke, the youngest son of Leafs President and General Manager Brian Burke, succumbed to injuries he suffered in an auto accident earlier today in Indiana," the Leafs said in a statement. "The family asks for privacy at this difficult time."
According to WHIOTV.com, Burke lost control of the Jeep Grand Cherokee he was driving and slid into another vehicle head-on during snowy conditions. Passenger Mark Reedy, 18, was also killed. The 24-year old driver whose car collided with Burke's was not injured in the accident.
A student at Miami University (OH), Burke was on the staff of the men's hockey team in charge of video and statistics. The youngest Burke's name became famous in November when the story of his coming out to his father became public after a column by John Buccigross of ESPN.
Brendan's story wasn't just an inspiring tale for others facing societal challenges to their sexual identity; it was one that symbolized a deep respect between a father and son. When Burke talked about his son's coming out, he stood behind Brendan's decision 100 percent:
"This isn't about me and it isn't about the GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs. It's about a young man who has done something that takes a lot of courage."
Brendan was one of six children in the Burke family.
UPDATE: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has issued a statement:
"The National Hockey League grieves tonight for the family and friends of Brendan Burke, a young man of courage and character. 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."
Brian Burke is also the GM of the U.S. Men's Olympic Ice Hockey team. Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey, said Friday night: "Our heart goes out to Brian and his family in this very difficult time. We know the prayers of the entire hockey family, including our Olympic Team, are with the Burke family."