Due to the National Hockey League playoff schedule and COVID-19’s strict summer isolation guidelines, 25-year-old Horvat does not know when he will hold his first child.
“I knew it was going to be difficult,” Horvat said on a conference call Wednesday, three days after leaving his family to prepare for training camp at the Rogers Arena. “But you don’t know until that happens. Leaving Sunday was one of the most difficult days I have ever had, leaving your family behind. I think that not knowing when you are going to see them again is the most important thing. I hope that by the end of this I will place it in the Stanley Cup and all will be well. ”
Each parent understands how quickly newborn babies grow and change. If you blink, you may be missing something. A day is like a week, a week like a month, and being away for up to three months, well, that separation time is almost unbearable.
If the Canucks succeed this summer and continue playing, Horvat will feel like a stranger to Gunnar when he returns to London, Ontario.
“I don’t know when I can see them afterwards,” said Horvat. “I try to FaceTime them about every second of the day. I’m just trying to stay in touch this way, see it as much as I can on my phone. I hope he doesn’t forget me.
“I miss him, of course. You want to be there in those early days. . . to bond with him and help as best you can. But under these circumstances, what can you do correctly? We just have to live with it and think about the positives. ”
This first week – from Gunnar’s birth on June 28 to departure from Horvat on July 5 – was like a gift for the Horvat family.
Holly Horvat was due to give birth by Caesarean section on July 14, the date that caused Bo sleepless nights trying to figure out how he could be there for his wife and baby and still serve as a Canucks captain amid complications from coronavirus and Unprecedented NHL Stanley Cup summer tournament. Holly and Gunnar took matters into their own hands.
“She ended up giving birth on Sunday the 28th,” said Horvat. “She just said that she didn’t feel well. We took her to the hospital. I can’t come in, so I just dropped it off. She just said, ‘Go home, relax, it’s probably nothing.’ We dropped her off at 5:30 a.m. and we had the baby at 7:30 p.m. She was having contractions. The next thing you know was 30 seconds apart and she said, ‘Boy, you have to come down here now, we’re going to have the baby.’ I arrived at 7 p.m. and we had the baby at 7:30 p.m.
“It was the best week of my life, hands down. Holl and I are really happy to have the little man in our life. It was a blessing for us, for sure. ”
As a Canucks representative on the NHL Players’ Association, Horvat was close to negotiations that ended with a new collective agreement with the owners and strict return to play guidelines. He knew he could withdraw from summer hockey.
“Not once did I think of withdrawing,” he said. “I want to be there for my teammates. I want to be there when the season starts and participate in the victory here. Be there for the birth and try to find out when to join the camp. . . I was still trying to figure it all out until the day of his birth. I am glad he came a little earlier and is in good health and is doing well and I had to spend a week with him and Holl before coming here. “
After successfully screening for coronaviruses, Horvat began skating in Vancouver on Tuesday with a group of eight players – all domestic air travelers quarantined together this week. Players Stay in a Hotel and Stay Away from Other Canucks Training Groups: Players Who Have Flyed In Canada and Are Subject To Our Country’s 14 Day Quarantine, And Players Who Have Never left Vancouver or were close enough to return to training camp.
Camp begins Monday. The Canucks will open a five-game preliminary round game against the Minnesota Wild on or about August 1 in Edmonton.
“It won’t be easy,” said Horvat of the separation of Holly and Gunnar. “At the same time, at the start of the year, we set a goal for the playoffs and a chance at the Stanley Cup, and we have it. If I have to be away from my family and spend my time and effort coming back and playing in the Stanley Cup playoffs, I want to go all the way. I want to try to win this stuff so it’s not just a waste of time and being away from my family for no reason. “