As expected, the Vancouver Canucks have named Bo Horvat their new team captain. He’s the 14th captain in franchise history.
The announcement was made after a ceremony kicking off Vancouver’s home opener Wednesday against the Los Angeles Kings.
Horvat is the successor of Henrik Sedin, who retired after the 2017-2018 season. For last season, the team went with a rotation of alternate captains.
Horvat played under Sedin and learned about leadership from both Henrik and his brother Daniel. With the Canucks entering the post-Sedin era, the 24-year-old’s guidance will take on special importance. And with Vancouver in its 50th season, you have to imagine that the new captain may have extra sentimental weight on his shoulders as well.
From Henrik Sedin’s perspective, Horvat is the right move.
“Most of the young guys who come in, they’re good hockey players, they want to score or they want to play well,” the former captain said. “But then there’s some guys who have that extra dimension to them. They see more of a big picture and you can see that they think differently than most guys. And he’s been one of them, for sure.”
That extra dimension has been part and parcel for Canucks captains down the line, from Orland Kurtenbach to Horvat. And the Sedins played perhaps a large role in turning the new captain around, what with John Tortorella claiming he maybe wasn’t an NHL-ready player and a few slumps peppering his early career.
But after skating with the twin Swedes and learning the ropes, Horvat not only improved his game but improved his mindset.
“Playing behind (Henrik) has made me the player I am now,” Horvat said a few months prior to the Sedins’ retirement. “And the way he handles himself in the community, and all that stuff, and seeing how much he brings to this organization, it’s incredible to watch and it makes you want to be better as a player and a person.”
Originally slated to place highest as a third line centre, Horvat has exceeded almost all expectations and he’s only going to get better. And with Elias Pettersson in the fold to take some of the heat down the middle, the new captain will have the time and space to develop into a complete hockey player – and an incredible leader.
Photo credit: NHL.com