New York Islanders newcomer Bo Horvat is in uncharted waters. And we’re not meaning the Atlantic Ocean, given that he is currently in South Florida for the 2023 All-Star festivities.
For the first time in his nine-year NHL. career, Bo Horvat has been traded, and with that comes a lot of firsts.
On Thursday evening, Horvat spoke with reporters about being traded to the New York Islanders and where his mindset is at.
“It still hasn’t really sunk in yet,” Horvat said about being traded just three days ago. “But I’m getting more and more excited. I’m really anxious to meet the guys, and kind of get my bearings around the dressing room and start getting on the ice again.
“This is great (All-Star Weekend), but I kind of want to get back out there.”
As Horvat mentioned on Monday, he knew a few Islanders from his time at the World Championships, in which he represented Canada, being a Toronto kid. Down in South Florida, he has the chance to meet up with Brock Nelson for the first time, as well as Ilya Sorokin.
“I’m gonna try to hook up with him (Nelson) later,” Horvat said. “Just so I can see some familiar faces when I head back to the rink here the next couple of days. So yeah, I’m really looking forward to it.”
For Horvat, in just a few days, he will be on Long Island and gearing up for his first game in a foreign place. And it’s going to take a bit of time to get accustomed to.
“It’s a city that I don’t know a ton about, obviously,” Horvat said. “I know a couple of the guys, but just meeting all the new players, getting used to the new systems and just everything, the culture there, it’s really nerve-racking.”
“I’m not gonna lie. I’ve never been traded before. So this is different for me, and I’m really excited.”
Although the trade went down three days ago, it hasn’t completely hit Horvat just yet.
“I really didn’t know how to take it, and it still hasn’t sunk in, really,” he said. I think it’ll start to more and more when I get there, again, meet the guys, put on the jersey for the first time. So again, I was really excited.”
Even though Horvat has yet to don an Islanders sweater, he already ran into an Islanders fan wearing his jersey in South Beach with the proper no. 14.
“Somebody had a Bo Horvat Islander jersey here for the first time, and I had to really concentrate on writing 14 instead of 53,” Horvat said.
As for how Horvat came up with the no. 14, given that 53 is taken by Casey Cizikas, he used a simple math equation.
Four plus one equals five. Four minus one equals three.
That’s all there is to it. The no. 53 holds a ton of meeting to Horvat as he wore it in honor of a fallen teammate, a goaltender who wore the no. 35. So it’s cool to see him find a creative way to still honor his friend.
One thing about trades that people don’t completely understand, especially to the other side of a continent, is their family. Horvat had established roots in Vancouver with a wife and kids, and now they all have to pack everything up and go through this new, unique process together.
Horvat shared that they’ve discussed about where they are going to move and settle down but aren’t rushing to decide.
“We thought about it for sure, what we’re gonna do with the kids, my wife, but we kind of want to get our grounds before us and our bearings, the lay of the land, and where we’re going to stay,” Horvat said.
Horvat is in the midst of a career season with 31 goals and 23 assists, but expecting him to be electric with New York immediately, is much easier than it sounds.
“I’m sure it’s going to take me a little bit of time,” Horvat said. “Of course, I want to hit the ground running and continue the way I’ve been playing because it’s been helping the Canucks, and hopefully, it will help out the Islanders even more.”
He has to get accustomed to a new system, building chemistry with new teammates, get acclimated to the locker room, the leadership group, and to his new general manager, who’s got some rules.
Horvat was asked if he spoke to others about what it is like to play for Lou Lamoriello.
“I haven’t talked too much about it,” Horvat said. “I luckily don’t have long hair, and I’ll trim the beard up a bit, but yeah, obviously, he’s well-respected around the league.”
“Great team. Great team here. Obviously, a huge amount of respect for the teams. Hopefully, I’ll perform for him.”
And then came the question of the hour–contract extension. Bo Horvat was asked if he was open to signing an extension with the Islanders before he becomes a free agent.
“Yeah, of course. Obviously, haven’t thought about it in-depth lately. I’m going to leave that up to Pat Morris and Lou to handle it,” Horvat said. “I have a lot of respect for the organization. I’ve heard great things about the city. Obviously don’t know much about it, but definitely interested for sure.”