I’m starting to get the sense that the Vancouver Canucks want the 2018/19 season to come and go as quickly as possible. The only thing I seem to hear about from them is the 2019/20 season. Forget the season they’re less than forty days away from starting — the golden anniversary is getting all the attention. AND the Canucks are holding off unveiling TWO new alternate jerseys until 2019/20. I’m starting to get the feeling they’ll hold off naming a captain until that season too.
Quite frankly, I hope that feeling is wrong.
Bo Horvat should be the next captain of the Vancouver Canucks. Ask any fan, young or old, fancy stat enthusiast or Jimbo supporter, they’ll likely tell you Bo should be the next captain. With a fanbase so divided on the direction of the team, I’m thinking the one thing that could unite all fans is Bo Horvat leading this team in hopefully the right direction. He was one of the few players on the Canucks roster the past few seasons who does not like losing every night. Last season, he wore his emotions on his face during those tough, embarrassing losses. Quite frankly, the same cannot be said for a lot of players who seemed content on being there regardless of the score.
A lot of vague comments from Jim Benning and Travis Green would lead you to believe they are undecided if the team needs a captain next season. The Canucks are a boat without a rutter next season. They lack both direction and identity with the Sedins retired. The team is now a mash up of young homegrown talent cultivated through the draft and smart trades, questionable July 1st free agent signings, and a couple warm bodies to fill roster spots. Bo will be entering his fifth season with the Canucks. He’s been here for some tough seasons, and even a surprisingly positive one in 2014/15. You can only imagine how much he learned from Daniel, Henrik and even Trevor Linden over that time about what it takes to be a great leader in this game.
The team’s fan base has been questioning the direction of the club from the front office. One way to step in the right direction? Give Bo the leadership role on the team he deserves. Fans seem to want a captain who will be loyal to the club, in it for the long haul and determined to bring a Stanley Cup to Vancouver (or break our hearts for the fourth time). Bo’s locked down long term through 2022/23 and been groomed for the role since day one.
Canucks fans romanticize their captains. Stan Smyl and Trevor Linden are the quintessential definitions of what a captain should be in Vancouver. Heart and soul, team first players who may not have been leading scores in the league (or the team), but players who did everything in their being to win and earn respect each night. Bo’s shown that. Bo’s basically a younger Trevor Linden. A Trevor Linden who’s much better in the offensive zone and one with a much better shot. Canucks fans will love him with a ‘C’ sewn on his sweater!
The captaincy situation with the Canucks is nothing like it was in 2010/11. The team was fresh off a two year experiment of Roberto Luongo as pseudo-captain. A strange and unusual two years where Luongo was technically captain, but he couldn’t physically wear the ‘C’ on his jersey, he had to settle for an unofficial ‘C’ on his goalie mask. When he finally relinquished his captaincy, there was no clear cut winner on who the captain should have been. Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieksa were both thought to be front runners for the coveted letter on their sweater before Henrik Sedin was eventually chosen and went above and beyond in his seven years as captain. But now, in 2018, it’s very clear who should be captain. Could you imagine if the captaincy was awarded to Alex Edler or Brandon Sutter? I genuinely believe it would be the most negative reaction inside Rogers Arena, louder and angrier than Gary Bettman awarding the Boston Bruins the Stanley Cup in 2011.
This decision doesn’t require overthinking. Sure, as fans we don’t really know the dynamic in the dressing room. We don’t know if franchise cornerstone centre Brandon Sutter is a vocal and passionate leader; maybe Alex Edler leads his team in a silent and stoic manner. But I do know this –we have watched Bo Horvat develop into the leader media members boasted he was and would become when he was drafted in 2013. I also know that they would sell a lot more Horvat jerseys with that captaincy ‘C’ stitched on the front than a Sutter, Edler or, dare I say it, Gudbranson. OK, so I don’t know this for a fact, but I do know I will buy one if he’s announced as captain!
It’s really obvious people. It’s an easy choice to make and a clear cut decision.
Give it to Bo. Pass the torch.