When Bo Horvat met with the media on Monday following his trade from the Vancouver Canucks to the New York Islanders, he fielded several questions from reporters while sitting in his hotel at Disney Land hours after his family vacation was disrupted by being part of an NHL blockbuster.
After he was asked about his emotions about leaving the Canucks, if he was still going to the All-Star Game and playing with Mathew Barzal, he was asked what number he would wear on Long Island since No. 53 was already taken by Casey Cizikas.
"Casey has been in the league a long time, and he wears that number well," said Horvat. "I'll gladly pick another number. He's represented the 53 really well."
On Tuesday, we found out that Horvat, the 14th captain in Canucks history, would wear No. 14 with the Islanders, becoming the 22nd player in team history to wear the number. William Dufour wore it in his one game earlier this season. What no one asked - and most Islanders fans may not know, is why Horvat wore No. 53 in the first place. It's a number he wore throughout his junior career and into the NHL and carries a special meaning
The reason NY Islanders center Bo Horvat wore No. 53
In the 2011 Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Priority Selection, Horvat and goaltender Ian Jenkins were picked by the London Knights - Horvat was selected ninth, and Jenkins was taken 29th overall. A few weeks after that special day, tragedy struck when Jenkins was killed when he fell out from the back of a pickup truck and died at the age of 15.
Horvat wears number 53, which is an inverse of Jenkins’s number 35, which he wore as a goaltender, in his memory. “I’m sure we would have been great friends if he was here,” Horvat told Eliotte Friedman back in 2013. “To switch my number around kind of in memory of him was something special to me and to his family."
Knights head coach Dale Hunter said at the time, “Definitely getting the number [shows] how much character Bo has and how much he cares about his teammates.”