We’ll barely touch on the hockey aspect of Travis Hamonic because this is about the man, not the player. Yes, it’s been an up and down start to Hamonic’s career in Calgary, but what he does off the ice in the community is one of his true values to the Calgary Flames.
When you are 10 years old, life is still a blur. It’s playing sports with your buddies, swimming in the summer, sledding in the winter, video games and all the junk food you can handle. Imagine all of that carefree fun and excitement coming to a crashing halt when one of the most important figures in your life suddenly disappears from your life. That’s Travis Hamonic. The Flames newest defenceman lost his father at 10 years old and what he’s done to help youth who’ve lost a parent at a young age is remarkable.
While a member of the NY Islanders Hamonic created the D Partner Program, a program dedicated to helping children, like himself, who’ve lost a parent far to soon in their lives. According to the Flames website, Hamonic has helped over 200 youth since the inception of the program and he’s not done yet.
His D Partner Program is a massive undertaking, but it’s well worth it. At each Flames home game Hamonic hosts a child and 3 guests, providing tickets and a meet and greet after the game. While the on ice portion of the game is important, it’s ventures like this that make his addition to the team important and he hasn’t stopped with this program either.
Hamonic and his wife have started a program called The Northern Project. This venture provides Indigenous children and their families a chance to visit Calgary and see the Flames play at the Saddledome. Hamonic, who is Métis himself, and his wife are funding this program themselves. Three families will be awarded the chance to come to a game, on Travis’ dime, all expenses paid, throughout the season. The first visit came on December 16th during the Flames home game against the Predators. And if all of that isn’t enough for you Hamonic also participated in TV show called “Hit The Ice” which gave First Nations prospects the chance to showcase their skills to Junior Scouts this past summer.
When it comes to the game, sometimes we only see what happens at the rink as important. We track points, CF%, blocked shots, +/-, etc. While all of that is important to the game, there’s more to these players than their stats. Travis Hamonic is living proof that what happens off the ice is just as important as what happens during the games. Hamonic was brought to Calgary to bolster the Flames blue line, but what he’s done in the community, off the ice, has truly been remarkable. For his efforts last season as a member of the Islanders Hamonic received the NHL’s 2016-17 Foundation Player Award for all of his work in the community (Mark Giordano won it the previous year).
We all get on a player for a turnover or a lazy PK shift from time to time, but it’s important remember that there’s a kid sitting in the stands who doesn’t care what Travis Hamonic’s FF% is. All he cares is that someone who went through exactly what he/she is going through cared enough to reach out with a once and a lifetime experience and a hug. As a human, not a fan, that’s what’s really important.