VANCOUVER — Bo Horvat was named captain of the Vancouver Canucks during a ceremony before an 8-2 win in their home opener against the Los Angeles Kings at Rogers Arena on Wednesday.
The 24-year-old center is the 14th captain in Canucks history.
“It was pretty surreal. I was actually pretty emotional,” Horvat said. “Obviously it was pretty humbling and a dream come true. Never in a million years did I think I’d be in this position. I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys in here.”
The Canucks did not have a captain last season following the retirement of Henrik Sedin, who held the position the previous eight seasons. Henrik and Daniel Sedin were in attendance for the passing of the torch.
“A lot of young guys come up and most are good hockey players and they want to score or they want to play well, but then there’s some guys that have that extra dimension to them where they see more of a big picture and you can see that they think differently than most guys, and he has been one of them for sure,” Sedin said.
“To have Hank and Danny there and to have Hank give it to me, that was another special thing because he was such a huge part of my first four years and learning what it’s like to be a captain and how to be a pro,” Horvat said. “It was the icing on the cake, having him out there handing it to me and passing it off.”
Horvat is in his sixth season with the Canucks, who traded goaltender Cory Schneider to the New Jersey Devils for the No. 9 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, which they used to select Horvat. He has 223 points (98 goals, 125 assists) in 380 NHL games, and is coming off career highs in goals (27), assists (34) and points (61) in 82 games last season.
“They kind of talked to me about it in the summer time and kind of made it official when I got back into town,” Horvat said. “I tried to keep it a secret the best I could. Everybody was trying to keep it a secret. It was probably the worst kept secret ever. But as soon as I got that call, I couldn’t believe it. Telling my parents and everybody, it was pretty special.”
Horvat also said watching Henrik Sedin gave him an appreciation for the most difficult parts of the job.
“Talking to the media every single day and having that spotlight on you all the time, it’s a Canadian market, a Canadian team and media is hard on guys and the team, and I think for you to be that voice is definitely tough,” Horvat said. “[The Sedins] stuck with it night in, night out and were just complete pros on and off the ice, so I learned a lot from them for sure.”
Horvat joins a list of Canucks captains that includes Sedin, Roberto Luongo, Markus Naslund, Mark Messier, Trevor Linden, Stan Smyl and Orland Kurtenbach.
Canucks forward Jay Beagle, who signed as an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2018 after winning the Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals, praised Horvat for his maturity.
“The very first time I met him I thought he was older than me, and I’m old,” said Beagle, who turns 34 Oct. 16. “He’s just got that maturity you don’t see from a lot of young guys. You can always look at him to lead the way in the gym and on the ice with his work ethic and the way he puts the team first. That’s another huge quality from a leader, so he’s a pretty special player, pretty special person.”
Horvat said he plans to lead with his on-ice play as Canucks captain.
“I’m not going to be the most vocal guy,” Horvat said. “I’ll definitely say some things here and there in the dressing room, but I think my play on the ice, leading by example, and trying to be positive night in and night out.”