The reason why Bo Horvat always played with the No. 53 in Vancouver will break your heart

Major changes are happening in Vancouver right now. There’s talk about a rebuild, and earlier this week, the first domino fell as Bo Horvat got traded to the New York Islanders.

Bo Horvat has served as the captain of the Canucks last couple of years, and it’s a blockbuster move for the Canucks to get rid of him. Horvat is a pending unrestricted free agent, and his excepted $8-million starting point for a cap hit wasn’t something Canucks were ever going to sign.

VANCOUVER, CANADA – JANUARY 27: Bo Horvat #53 of the Vancouver Canucks lines up for a face-off during their NHL game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Rogers Arena January 27, 2023 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

And that’s why they traded him to the Islanders in a move that had Canucks fans riled up.

Horvat was a huge fan favorite in Vancouver and not just a great hockey player. Bo Horvat’s on 31 goals and 54 points through 49 games this season, but he’s also great off the ice, for the community, and in the locker room. And he’s always been a leader and just a great guy.

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In Horvat, the Islanders will get a great offensive centerman who can really give them an offensive boost in their hunt for a playoff run. But one thing will be different with Horvat in New York compared to Horvat in Vancouver.

Horvat will play in No. 14 after wearing 53 in Vancouver. Centerman Casey Cizikas wears 53 in Islanders, so Horvat has to take a new number, and we’re guessing he would love to wear the number he’s always worn. Because the reason he wore the number 53 was simply amazing.

Horvat wore the number 53 in honor of a friend named Ian Jenkins. Jenkins was a goalkeeper, and they both got picked by the London Knights in the 2011 OHL Priority Selection.

But just weeks after the draft, Jenkins was killed after he fell out from the back of a pickup truck.

Jenkins, who was only 15 years old when he passed, wore the number 35, and Horvat has since inverted the numbers and worn it to honor his late friend.

“I’m sure we would have been great friends if he was here,” Horvat said in an interview around ten years ago. “To switch my number around kind of in memory of him was something special to me and to his family.

“For me to kind of represent him so to speak really shows my appreciation for him as a goaltender.”

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