The first time newly acquired center Bo Horvat takes the ice wearing a No. 14 New York Islanders jersey will be when he represents the Pacific Division in All-Star Skills Competition at 7 PM EST on Friday night from Sunrise, FL. You read that right.
Oh, and it won't be just any Islanders jersey; it will be the Reverse Retro Fisherman jersey, last worn by the Islanders on Jan. 28 vs. the Vegas Golden Knights, in what was supposed to be the last scheduled appearance by the divisive logo this season.
The revelation was first reported by Daniel Wagner of Vancouver is Awesome. “[Horvat] will be representing the Pacific Division,” said Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly confirmed to Wagner in an email. “All club identifiers and intellectual property will reflect his current affiliation with the NY Islanders.”
This whole All-Star getting traded before the All-Star game has happened before. As Wagner writes in his article, D Sandis Ozolinsh was moved from the Florida Panthers to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in 2003 and was told that he would still need to play for the Eastern Conference and wear a Panthers jersey for the Skills Competition. Ozolinsh disapproved, skipped the Skills Competition, and was fined by the NHL.
There were only special circumstances that time around that made it especially awkward as the game was scheduled to be in Sunrise, FL, home of the Panthers, the same as it is this weekend 20 years later. "He's still kind of stunned from the trade," team spokesman Alex Gilchrist said at the time. "And he's uncomfortable about coming back here. If the game weren't here, he would be here."
We don't expect as much drama for Horvat this time around.
Former Canucks teammate Elias Pettersson is also on the Pacific Division side, and depending how things work out during the 3-on-3 games on Saturday, Horvat could be matching up against new teammate Brock Nelson while trying to score against Ilya Sorokin.
The year's skills competition will feature two new events in the warm Florida weather with the introduction of mini-games like Splash Shot and Pitch 'n' Puck to go along with the classic All-Star events such as the fastest skater, hardest shot, and accuracy competition.
The participants for each event have yet to be released.