Vancouver Canucks 2013 first round pick Bo Horvat wears number 53, which is unusual in the hockey circles.
Single digit numbers are usually taken by defencemen, forwards take double digits up to 30, and the goaltenders take the numbers in the 30s.
Any numbers above that are worn by rookies during training camp and the preseason.
CBC’s Elliotte Friedman spoke to Horvat about his jersey number choice in a segment that aired in the first intermission of Friday’s Canucks and Edmonton Oilers game.
The Canucks are not fans of high jersey numbers, so they considered asking Horvat to switch to a lower number. They changed their mind after learning from Horvat that he wears it in honour of friend Ian Jenkins.
Horvat and Jenkins, a goaltender, were both picked by the London Knights in the 2011 OHL Priority Selection ninth and 29th overall respectively.
Just weeks after being drafted, Jenkins was tragically killed after he fell out from the back of a pickup truck. He was 15 years old.
Horvat wears number 53, which is an inverse of Jenkins’s number 35 that he wore as a goaltender, in memory.
“I’m sure we would have been great friends if he was here,” Horvat told Friedman. “To switch my number around kind of in memory of him was something special to me and to his family.
“For me to kind of represent him so to speak really shows my appreciation for him as a goaltender.”
Horvat says the Jenkins family were not aware initially why he picked 53.
“I don’t they think they knew,” he said. “When I told them why I picked 53 and why I did it, I think it meant a lot to them and I think they really appreciate it.”
Knights head coach Dale Hunter added, “Definitely getting the number [shows] how much character Bo has and how much he cares about his teammates.”