New York Islanders defenseman, Travis Hamonic, is a good example of why we need to remember the human element of the NHL and it’s day-to-day operations.
In November, it became public information the Travis Hamonic had requested a trade, specifically to Winnipeg or another team in Western Canada which would bring him closer to his hometown. While there haven’t been specific reasons stated for his wishes (and there doesn’t have to be, it’s none of our business), it has been made clear it’s for personal reasons and it has nothing to do with the New York Islanders.
With trade request rumours being a big story line this year, it’s easy to ignore why a player may request to be traded in the first place.
For Hamonic, his actions make clear how important family is to him. The Islanders defenseman lost his father at a young age and since 2012 has helped run the Hamonic D-Partner Program, something that gives children that have lost one or both of their parents the opportunity to connect with Hamonic, because he can relate to what they are experiencing.
Today, the NHLPA posted an article about Hamonic’s efforts and included this video featuring one particular child’s experience with the D-Partner Program:
Losing someone close to you is tough on anyone, being able to speak to someone who can speak from experience about things you may be feeling or thinking is valuable. Hamonic is doing what he can to help the people around him and hopefully the Islanders are doing the same for him.
Whatever reasons Hamonic has for feeling the need to move back somewhere closer to home, he has a right to them and it’s a situation about more than what the Islanders get in return.
The sports leagues that include drafts and especially the NHL’s system are very unique. There are few circumstances where employees are told where they have to live for the first 7-9 years of their career.
Jonathan Drouin, Kerby Rychel and Patrick Marleau have also requested trades, and while every situation is different, the human element of these actions play a significant role.
Drouin is currently suspended by his own team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, for refusing to show up to play for the team’s AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch. Being uprooted from your home and moved around the country by a team that doesn’t seem to value your ability can be difficult for anyone, let alone a 20-year-old.
Drouin has likely handled the process poorly, but people can act irrationally when they feel stuck in a bad situation (relative to their position in life).
In the end, we’re left thinking about what Hamonic has overcome, the good he does in the community and how professionally he has handled this entire process. Requesting a trade, likely from a place where he has made many close friends, is a difficult thing to do.
Hopefully the Islanders can move him into a better situation for him and his family soon.
We’d be happier with something of equal or more value, but if the return is a little underwhelming when it does happen, hopefully Islanders fans can be happy for someone who has contributed a lot to the community and team.