In recognition of his tireless work in the community, Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic is one of this season’s two finalists for the NHL Foundation Player Award.
Hamonic, drafted in the second round of the 2008 draft by the Islanders, has been hosting kids at Islanders games for five years through his D-Partner Program, in which he connects with young fans who have lost a parent. Travis’s personal story of loss and his unique initiative were both profiled on ESPN’s E:60 program a few years ago.
Via a wonderful profile on the Islanders site by Cory Wright (seriously, read this whole thing twice):
"It is humbling that people trust me with their personal stories, their history and their life and allow me to be able to hear what they are going through," Hamonic said. "It's a pretty intimate thing. It isn't taken lightly by any means."
In addition to the D-Partner Program, which has reached over 150 families and counting, Hamonic also works with the Children’s Wish Foundation and helps organize his teammates into other community events and appearances.
The Foundation Player Award winner will be announced on June 20th at the league’s Humanitarian Awards event in Las Vegas. The NHL Awards Show is the next night and the winner will appear on stage there, too.
This season’s other finalist is Wayne Simmonds, a player so likable that it’s easy to forget he plays for Philadelphia. Simmonds helps teach kids in his hometown of Scarborough, Ontario to play hockey through his Road Hockey Warriors program, as well as participating in other charitable works.
If the NHL Foundation Player Award sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because Matt Martin was a finalist last year, when he and P.K. Subban lost out to Calgary’s Mark Giordano. “Lost out” in this case meaning, “the big trophy went from one extremely generous human to another.”
Whatever issues or value we may ascribe to his performance on the ice, there is no doubt that Hamonic is one of the most honorable, admirable, giving, benevolent, thoughtful and unselfish players this organization has ever had. The fact that he does all of these altruistic things and yet hates getting recognized for them makes him even more likable. I almost don’t even want to mention it, but if you have any Hamonic trade proposals (and full disclosure, I have had a few myself), this would not be the place to air them.
I mean, for crying out loud:
"My career is going to be done one day and you want to be known as someone who tried to do some good in the world. I think that's the bigger aspect. The truth is whether you're a hockey player, a lawyer, a teacher, a dentist, it doesn't matter what you do for a living, it's our duty to be good people.
Good luck, Travis. You might hate receiving that award in front of everybody, but you’ve more than earned it.