Once NHL play resumes, the Calgary Flames will be missing some toughness, as veteran defenceman Travis Hamonic has decided to opt out of action.
Hamonic, who is of Metis descent played in 50 games this year where he scored 3 goals and 12 points before the NHL season came to a halt in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recently it was announced that on Saturday, August 1st, when Calgary resumes play by opening their series against the Winnipeg Jets, they will be without the veteran presence of Hamonic, who has become the first NHL player to opt out due to personal reasons.
“Earlier this evening, Travis called me to inform us that he has decided to opt out of the NHL ‘Return to Play Program,” Flames GM Brad Treliving said.
“Travis explained that due to family considerations, he has made the difficult decision not to participate in the Stanley Cup qualifier and playoffs. While we will miss Travis in our lineup, we understand and respect his decision.”
This decision to not play was made hours after the NHL made it official that they have come to an agreement with the NHLPA to resume play during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Releasing a message through his agency, Titan Sports 365, this 29- year-old pending unrestricted free agent stated;
“Due to what my daughter already has gone through and the concerns if she were to catch COVID-19, I’ve decided to opt out and seek a leave of absence from the Calgary Flames for the remainder of the playoffs. I wish I could lace up my skates and be out there battling, blocking a shot and helping the team win but my family has and always will come first. Being my little kids’ dad every day is the most important job I have.”
This rugged defenceman who provides leadership, heart and muscle went on to add,
“I love this game and my team. This is a decision that is extremely hard for me to make. I wish my teammates the best of luck and good health. I look forward to joining the C of Red, the greatest fans in the NHL, in cheering on my teammates as they chase the opportunity t bring the Stanley Cup home to Calgary.”
In his career Hamonic, who was a 2008 second round selection by the New York Islanders, has played in 637 NHL games with both the Islanders and Flames. During that time, he has scored 37 goals and 188 points while posting a +2 and 591 penalty minutes.