New York Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic took to the Brooklyn ice Thursday afternoon in ordinary fashion. He went about his teams morning skate routinely enough that nobody could tell that deep down he probably wasn’t the happiest of people.
From time to time hockey players and professionals alike get down about being away from family and friends. It’s part of being lucky enough to possess a job in professional sports. It requires a lot of time and dedication. For the most part players are able to handle it, or deal with it in certain ways. But for others, it isn’t always that easy. As appears to be the case with Travis Hamonic, who has put in a trade request so he can be closer to his home and family in the Winnipeg area. It looks as if he’s lucky enough to be a member of a great organization who appear to be understanding enough to grant Hamonic his wish. As hard as it can be to take for many coaches, players and fans, when it’s for personal reasons, you cant help but try to understand the situation in some way and let it pan out the way it’s mean’t to be.
As understanding as everyone in the Islanders organization has been, Hamonic himself has understood the situation and has handled it with great professionalism, according to head coach Jack Capuano who said “I’ve known for a long time… Travis and I obviously have talked about it over the last couple of months. But you can see the professionalism in him and what a teammate that he has been and what a first-class individual he has been. He gets the utmost respect from his teammates. You guys will talk to them and understand that it’s a personal matter with him right now.”
Sadly, Hamonic lost his father when he was just 10 years old, and in recent years has had various conversations with members of the Islanders organization about returning closer to home. To the hockey club’s credit, they were able to keep it out of the media for a good few months, which has no doubt helped Hamonic, who despite having off-ice issues, has still excelled on the ice this season with 3 assists and a plus-5 rating in 19 games. As well as that he currently leads the Islanders in average time on ice with 23:20 per game. If and when he goes, he’ll be missed greatly.
The young defenseman is in the third year of his deal with the Islanders, which is another reason they’ll miss him. He has an extremely team friendly contract. Hamonic currently has an annual team value of $3.857 million. In this this league you’ll struggle to get better value for money than that. Islanders GM Garth Snow realises this and isn’t about to give his top defenseman away for a bunch of prospects. Both parties umderstand the situation could be drawn out for a while, or until Snow gets his team the right deal. Idealy a deal that brings a player who has the ability to fill the void left by a player of Hamonic’s caliber right away, as the Islanders plan to return to the Stanley cup playoffs this season.