Welcome, one and all, to the final stop on our whirlwind tour of all the many players who might feasibly serve as the captain of the Vancouver Canucks in the 2019/20 season. Thus far, we’ve made inconsistently compelling cases for Alex Edler, Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson, and Troy Stecher—in addition to a two-part testimonial on why Bo Horvat is actually the right person for the job.
But there’s one option we’ve yet to discuss—and that’s naming Horvat as captain of the Canucks, but doing so at a future date beyond the 2019/20 season. The team went without anyone wearing the “C” in 2018/19, and there’s a chance they choose to do the same this year.
In Part 3 of “Why Bo Horvat Should Be Captain Of The Vancouver Canucks,” however, we’re here to make the case that the time has already come for #53 to don the “C”—and that Jim Benning, Travis Green, and Co. would be foolish to wait any longer.
The Captain-Less Controversy
In Part 2, we discussed what a problematic statement it would make if the Canucks were to name someone like Alex Edler as a stop-gap captain—and what it would say about the organization’s belief in Bo Horvat.
It goes without saying that not naming a captain at all for 2019/20 would send an even worse message to the team and the fanbase. The media firestorm that would surely follow would be as unpleasant as it was unnecessary.
As soon as the Canucks choose not to name Horvat the captain for the upcoming season, the narrative becomes “Why don’t Jim Benning and Travis Green think Horvat is ready for the captaincy?” The local media will thus spin its wheels trying to come up with reasons why Horvat might not be worthy of the “C”—and the team really doesn’t need that smoke in a season in which they’ll be trying to make the playoffs.
Even if the Canucks didn’t exist in a hockey-mad market with a proven track record of fomenting controversies on the flimsiest of premises, it still makes sense to name Horvat captain of the team sooner rather than later—and the 2019/20 season presents the perfect opportunity.
A Milestone Moment
The 2019/20 season promises to be a special one for the Vancouver Canucks. The franchise will enter its 50th anniversary year when the calendar flips to 2020, and a season full of celebration is already in the works.
With ceremonies abound—including a week-long celebration of the Sedins, who we’ll get to in a moment—there’s every reason to make the occasion even more memorable by naming Bo Horvat as captain of the team. There will be plenty of celebration of the franchise’s past, but that doesn’t mean that equal time shouldn’t be spent on setting up the team for future success.
Of course, the 2019/20 season isn’t just notable because of the milestone it represents—it also marks the dawn of a new era in Canuck uniforms. With a complete new set of four jerseys—including the classic black, red, and yellow skate logo in honour of the 50th anniversary—Vancouver has a fashionable and financial incentive to update Horvat’s own jersey with a captain’s patch.
After all, who wouldn’t want to buy this sweater?
The Daniel And Henrik Connection
With all this talk of captains, it’s time to address the twin elephants in the room—the previous Canucks captain is still around, and he’ll be a major part of the celebrations in the 2019/20 season.
Both Henrik and Daniel Sedin will have their jerseys retired by the Canucks at some point in the year—specifically, sometime in February—making all the more appropriate an occasion to fill the role that Henrik left vacant.
It bears mentioning that Horvat played the first four seasons of his career under the leadership of the Sedins—and one can only imagine that he picked up a litany of lessons that he can now pass on to a new generation of Canucks. The twins did a lot to improve the culture of the organization, and there’s no reason to throw any of that away now. Fortunately, Horvat is an obvious candidate to carry on the Sedins’ leadership legacy. His time learning from Henrik and Daniel is one accolade we’ve yet to mention in making the case for Horvat as captain—but it’s an important one nonetheless.
If the ceremony occurs early enough in the season, the Canucks could pull a classic maneouver in having Henrik quite literally pass the captaincy on to Horvat as a part of their jersey retirement ceremony. There are those who believed that Henrik was set to do this at the Sedins’ last game in Vancouver, though it didn’t come to pass—but now the organization has another opportunity for this unique bit of fan service.
Really, when you think about it, there’s no good reason not to have the Sedins involved in the naming of a new captain in some capacity. Metaphorically speaking, torches work better when they’re passed than when they’re picked up off the ground.
To discuss the final reason why 2019/20 is the right time to name Bo Horvat as captain of the Vancouver Canucks, we have to go back to the previous campaign. Once again, Horvat proved himself capable of temporarily putting the team on his back when its top offensive producers hit the IR—which goes well with his remarkable ability to maintain his own health.
When Brock Boeser broke his back at the tail-end of his rookie campaign, Horvat stepped up his game. He did the same during Elias Pettersson’s two absences in 2018/19, demonstrating that he’s more than capable of being the Canucks’ main man—even though he’s often asked to take a lesser role.
Bo Horvat has consistently brought stability to the Canucks lineup since joining the team five seasons ago—and that’s saying a lot given what has transpired throughout those five seasons. In many ways, Horvat has been the acting captain of the team since Henrik Sedin announced his retirement—so let’s make it official in 2019/20.