FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Bo Horvat spoke to reporters on Thursday, along with the rest of the Western Conference All-Stars. But his dais had an Islanders logo on it, a fact he himself was still trying to wrap his head around.
“It still hasn’t sunk in, really, yet,” Horvat said, three days after the Islanders traded Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Raty and a protected 2023 first-round pick to Vancouver to bring him to New York. “It will start to more and more when I get there and meet the guys and put the jersey on for the first time. Somebody had a Horvat Islander jersey here for the first time, and I had to really concentrate to write 14 instead of 53 today.”
Thursday was the first time Horvat got to properly meet at least a couple of his teammates, introducing himself to Brock Nelson a few minutes before Nelson took his turn at media day. Though he played with a few of his new teammates on Team Canada at the 2018 World Championships, the rest of the introductions will have to wait until when the Islanders gather again before their game Monday in Philadelphia.
“Oh, God, I’m so nervous,” Horvat said. “I am. It’s a city that I don’t know a ton about yet, obviously. I know a couple of the guys but just meeting all the new players and getting used to the new systems and just everything, the culture there, it’s really nerve-racking. Not gonna lie, I’ve never been traded before. This is different for me, but I’m really excited for that.”
That adjustment will come in ways big and small. Horvat will need to find a place to live on Long Island and immigrate to the United States from Canada, as well as decide whether his wife and kids will join him for the rest of the season. He’ll also need to shave the facial hair he sported Thursday, in accordance with general manager Lou Lamoriello’s rules.
Since Horvat’s camp could not agree on a contract extension with Vancouver, it was no surprise that he was ultimately dealt by the Canucks. The timing of it, though, more than a full month before the trade deadline, came from nowhere. And Horvat himself is still in the midst of a whirlwind.
As for a potential extension with the Islanders, Horvat said his focus right now is on the immediate.
“Where are we gonna stay, where are we gonna live, trying to get through this weekend and get with the team,” he said. “I think for me to really focus on the hockey part and not worry about any of that other stuff is gonna be best for me and my game. … And let my agent and Lou handle the rest.”