During the recent 2013 NHL Entry Draft, the Vancouver Canucks selected centre Bo Horvat ninth overall in the first round, essentially in exchange for goaltender Cory Schneider, who went to the New Jersey Devils. Horvat, an 18-year-old from Rodney, Ontario, had an amazing season with his team, the London Knights, in the Ontario Hockey League. He scored 33 goals, including a team-best 17 on the power play in 67 regular-season games in the 2012-13 season. During the playoffs, he led the OHL with 16 goals in 21 games. When it came down to crunch time, Horvat delivered by scoring the game-winning goal in Game 7 of the OHL championship with only 0.1 seconds left in the game. Not only did the goal clinch the Knight’s second Memorial Cup championship for the consecutive year, but Horvat was named the ‘Most Valuable Player’ of the playoffs. This 6’0”, 206-pound centre, recognized for his two-way play, represented Canada at the 2012 Under-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. He scored four points in five games, helping Canada secure the gold medal. Furthermore, Horvat was captain of Team Ontario at the 2012 Under-17 World Hockey Challenge, where he led the team to a bronze medal finish with seven points in six games.
One of the fan favourites got traded for you, what kind of pressure does that put you under coming into our building?
I don’t think there is any pressure, just enjoying the experience, not trying to think about it too much and just going out there and playing my game and do what I do best. I’m trying to prove to the Canucks organization that I can be here, keep getting better and that they made the right decision.
The Canucks had said earlier that they’re going to give opportunities to younger players, what do you think about this?
Yeah, that’s great to hear. I know a lot of teams in the NHL are going younger now, to hear that, and hear this organization is starting to go young, it really makes me want to work that much harder to prove myself that I can be in the lineup.
Do you feel you could step into the lineup this year?
Yes, I feel I’m ready. Whether it takes me maybe a couple more years or maybe if I’m ready now, there is always things I have to work on, there’s always things I have to get better at. But, I definitely want to go out there, in this camp and in main camp, and prove that I can stay up this year.
What are your goals and expectations for the upcoming season?
To just continue to get better and to work on different parts of my game. I’m trying to get better at skating, my quick starts, and definitely just try to keep getting better on my defensive game, and offensive, you can never be too good at anything. Will just go home, work hard on what they tell me to work on from this past camp and bring it to main camp.
What attributes do you hope to bring to the team?
Just my two way game, I feel I’m a really good two way centre, that you can put me out there in any key situations, to win a big draw, kill penalties or go on the power play, so I had that ‘everything role’ this year with my old team.
What do you think of the Canucks’ current roster and new coach?
I think they have a great roster, they have a lot of great hockey players in this organization. I’ve heard a lot of great things about Mr. Tortorella and what he does, so I’m really looking forward to meeting him and seeing some of the players later on, should be fun.
Which players are you looking forward to playing with?
I grew up watching the Sedin twins, Burrows, Kesler and Luongo. It’s been really something to watch them play over the past few years, so I’m looking forward to playing with those guys.
You had a great season in the OHL and you were named the Most Valuable Player of the playoffs, what did you learn from the juniors and hope to bring to the NHL?
My defensive game, which is what I’ve worked on through my junior career. I just learned the defensive side of the puck and definitely
positioning, so probably my defensive side of the game I learnt most in the OHL.
Which player in the NHL does your game most resemble?
I’ve always liked Mike Richards, I just love his work ethic, his leadership and his determination. He’s a pure winner and he works at it, he hasn’t had anything handed to him, he’s had to work for everything he’s gotten and he’s someone I want to model my game after.
If someone didn’t know you, how would you describe yourself in a few lines?
Definitely a hard worker, a leader, someone who is easy to get along with and someone you can talk to.
Photo Courtesy of Rick Collins/Vancouver Canucks