Brooklyn Boro

Isles in delicate situation with Hamonic

Top Defenseman Cites “Family Matter” as Reason for Trade Request

November 25, 2015 By John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic formally requested a trade out of Brooklyn prior to this historic first season in our fair borough, citing personal reasons of a family nature. AP photo
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Travis Hamonic wants out of Brooklyn, for reasons that no one can question because they are of a deeply personal and family-related nature.

When news finally broke last week of the 25-year-old Islander defenseman’s desire to be moved, most preferably to a team closer to his Manitoba-based family home near Winnipeg, New York general manager Garth Snow was publicly put on the hot seat to orchestrate a deal.

Only Snow, along with Islanders owner and Brooklyn Tech alum Charles Wang, must still act prudently for the sake of the organization in this matter, as well as being sensitive to his top young blue-liner’s desire to switch time zones, before committing to any trade.

That means the Islanders, who were coming off back-to-back losses heading into Wednesday night’s home game against Philadelphia at Downtown’s Barclays Center, must play on with Hamonic in tow, even though they know it is the player’s desire to leave them as expediently as possible.

To his credit, Hamonic has soldiered on during the team’s historic first season here in Brooklyn, helping the Islanders to a 10-8-3 mark while registering a goal and four assists, a plus-7 rating and better than 20 minutes of ice time per night.

“The root of all this is a personal family matter of mine that I hold dear to my heart,” Hamonic said on the Islanders’ website.

“It has nothing to do with the organization or how I’ve been treated here for six years of playing and another two or three since I was drafted,” he added. “I’ve honestly been treated like gold from the start.”

Head coach Jack Capuano, who continues to use Hamonic on his top defensive pairing, has been impressed by the rugged 6-foot-2, 205-pounder’s ability to handle his business on the ice despite the ongoing drama surrounding his status with the team.

“You can see the professionalism in him and what a teammate that he’s been and what a first-class individual he’s been,” Capuano said. “I’ve known for a while [about the trade request] and it hasn’t affected his game. If anything, he’s played better.”

The fact that Hamonic continues to grind it out on the ice only increases his value to other franchises looking to swoop in and grab a high-level player that has four years remaining on a very affordable contract going forward.

How Snow intends to get equal or better value for a player that every team within or near the Winnipeg time zone is eager to grab is difficult to gauge, because those suitors know that Hamonic wants to, and needs to, get out of his current situation.

“When [Garth and I] talked about this, it was more on a personal level than just a player-GM thing,” Hamonic revealed. “He understands what this means for me and how difficult it is. He’s really been there for me and I couldn’t thank him enough.”

Hamonic also took the time to address his teammates on the matter before confirming publicly that the request had been made before this season even began.

“Just explaining what was going on was one of the more difficult conversations I think I’ve had in my life,” Hamonic said. “It certainly wasn’t easy, but they’ve been there for me for many years now, different situations in my life and my career. They’ve certainly been there this far.”

Hamonic, who lost his father to a massive heart attack at the age of 10, is already rumored to have drawn trade interest from the Winnipeg Jets, Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Minnesota Wild.

Snow must weigh all these offers and ultimately do what’s in the best interest of a loyal and highly valued player, this year’s team and the entire organization for years to come.

That’s quite a responsibility for the former Islander goaltender, who has helped build a strong, young foundation for the newly relocated franchise during his first decade on the job.

Fortunately for Hamonic, his biggest support group remains in the Islanders’ locker room during this difficult time.

“He’s like a brother to many of us…I’ve been with him here a long time and he’s a great guy,” team captain John Tavares said. “We’re there to support him, we’re there for him and we made sure we let him know that.”

“We all go through adversity in life,” Capuano added. “Life is more important than the game.”

Isle Have Another: Following their home game against the Flyers Wednesday, the Islanders will go on a two-game trip through Florida, visiting the Panthers on Friday night and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday evening. New York returns to Brooklyn on Monday to open a three-game homestand against Colorado before its much-anticipated first meeting of the season with the rival Rangers at Barclays Center on Wednesday, Dec. 2.


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