During their 8-2 home win over LA, the Vancouver Canucks announced Bo Horvat as the Captain. Henrik Sedin and Orland Kurtenbach were present during a special pre-game ceremony to hand the reigns over. Few Canucks fans could argue that this was a smart choice. Since the retirement of Henrik and Daniel Sedin, fans have been waiting for a replacement leader. We tend to forget that Vancouver went all out to get this talent at the 2013 draft, the faith has been rewarded.
The Childhood of a Leader
The 24-year-old London, Ontario Centre was drafted 9th overall in 2013. Horvat had been a sensational talent for OHL team London Knights and took home the Wayne Gretzky 99 MVP trophy after a fine Memorial Cup. The Canucks traded away goalie Cory Schneider to New Jersey to secure him. Horvat started his career slowly in Vancouver- but after an All-Star breakout season in 2016-17, heads began to turn.
In a season dominated by Elias Petterson, Horvat’s 2018-19 season was missed by many. During this season he set a career-high points total with 61. His 27 goals were also impressive and his humble yet hungry style of play made him essential to Vancouver’s efforts. Although the clear favourite- a pre-season tweet by his side initially caused doubts. Initially announced along with four others as an Alternate, some assumed that linemate Pettersson might be given the ‘C’. A decidedly mixed reaction followed and some believed that again there might not be a clear leader at the Rogers Arena.
Captain Canuck: The First Avenger
Now that this is cleared up- this young guy is the perfect for the role in many ways. Horvat is a level headed talent that keeps the team together. He is a light that has shone brightly through some of the darkest days imaginable. His influence both on and off the ice has been the glue that keeps Vancouver and its fans together. When announcing him as the new Captain, his predecessor remarked: “We know that he’s not going to change just because he is the captain.”
Very much the quiet star of the team, Bo is definitely the one man out there that can be the difference. Pettersson and Quinn Hughes might be game-changers, but Horvat is one that carries them. He also has a focus which gives a maturity beyond his years. In the last few years, he has knuckled down and played his best hockey. Horvat is a player that is all about the big picture and he clearly sees the Canucks as potential threat in future.
The Best is Yet to Come
While Vancouver has made a stuttering start with three wins and two losses, there is time to turn it around. With Horvat as the centre-piece, Vancouver can finally start to aim back to the dizzying heights of 2011. As a self-confessed Canucks fan, my hope is slowly returning.
Bo knows how to turn this around!