Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic was named the winner of the 2017 NHL Foundation Award today, taking home the trophy for his exemplary work in the community and with kids and families who have lost a parent.
The NHL Foundation Award goes annually to "an NHL player who applies the core values of hockey -- commitment, perseverance and teamwork -- to enrich the lives of people in his community." And, boy, the NHL could not have picked a better recipient than Hamonic, who’s D-Partner Program and other community responsibilities go above and beyond what a lot of athletes do.
At each Islanders home game through the D-Partner Program, Hamonic hosts children and families who have been affected by the loss of a parent. But the connection goes beyond just high fives and autographs. Hamonic draws upon the memory of losing his father at a young age and shares his personal experience with his guests as way of helping them through their darkest times.
Here’s a video posted by the Islanders today. Hamonic’s story was also featured on an episode of ESPN’s E:60 last year. Be prepared to cry.
The list of Hamonic’s other community efforts is a mile long, and he’s always at the forefront of the Islanders’ charitable events.
The award was presented as part of the NHL Humanitarian Awards at the Encore at Wynn Las Vegas. The full NHL Award Show will be tomorrow night, also in Las Vegas, where Hamonic will receive a $25,000 donation from the NHL to a charity of his choice. Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds was the other finalist for the NHL Foundation Award.
As I said when he was announced as a finalist, Hamonic is one of the most honorable, admirable, thoughtful and unselfish players the Islanders organization has ever had. Although his name has been thrown around in trade rumors lately and there’s a tendency to brush aside community or sportsmanship awards for athletes, for Hamonic to be recognized by the league for his extraordinary efforts in trying to better people’s lives is truly special.
Sincerest congrats and thanks to Travis for everything he’s done for the Islanders and the community.
Update: This guy is unbelievable. We need more like him.
"I know being a guy, being sad and dealing with your emotions isn't the most common thing to do publically, so it's pretty important if we can try and discuss grief and the process of it," Hamonic said. "The biggest thing that I struggled with when I was younger - and a lot of the young people I meet nowadays - is that as you get older, it's not cool to talk about your emotions and what you have to go through. Just knowing it's okay and whatever you're feeling, it's normal. And knowing that other people have gone through it and the common thing is that everyone has to go through it so you feel a bit more comfortable."