Bo Horvat returned to Vancouver for the first time since being traded to the NY Islanders, as it was an emotional night for himself and the fans.
Drafted ninth overall by the Vancouver Canucks in 2013, Horvat spent nine seasons in the Pacific Northwest, including four as captain.
Questions were raised about what the crowd's reaction would be to their former captain returning, especially after Horvat's comments at the end of last season when he said the atmosphere at UBS Arena was "a lot better than Vancouver, I'll tell you that." Despite his choice of words, there were mostly cheers with a few boos smattered in.
Clearly emotional during warmups as he skated past signs along the glass thanking him for his time with the Canucks, Horvat's emotions were even more evident amid a video tribute during the first TV timeout.
With his emotions on his sleeve, Horvat's attention was back on his game as he found the back of the net for the second time in as many games against his former team. After the Canucks cut the Islanders' two-goal lead in half, Horvat and Mat Barzal played tic-tac-toe with Horvat ultimately beating Thatcher Demko on a one-timer, just as the momentum seemed to be shifting in favor of the Canucks.
"It was just a great play by Barzy getting that over to me," said Horvat. "I thought he was going to shoot it the whole time, and luckily he gave it back to me and thankfully it went in."
It's evident Horvat still holds some animosity against his former club, as earlier in the day, he discussed in front of a media frenzy his feelings on how his days in Vancouver ended.
"Honestly, I was just more upset with just how my situation was handled last year," said Horvat. "It just felt good to be wanted somewhere and appreciated. And I know that the fans here appreciated me a lot, but it just felt nice to be appreciated by that organization. For me, just how it was all handled last year was upsetting, but I mean I couldn’t be happier to be on Long Island."
Horvat watched his former team claim a 4-3 overtime victory as his current team sputters out of control, losing their sixth straight game.