New York Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic had one of the best seasons of his young career on the ice. It’s his year away from the rink, however, that should be helping the 24-year-old blueliner make some new fans.
For his work in the community, especially with youth in the New York area, All Sports United, a non-profit group that supports philanthropic acts by professional athletes, has nominated Hamonic for the honor of Humanitarian of the Year.
Hamonic’s work in the community gained mainstream national attention in November when ESPN program E:60documented Hamonic’s story.
Early in Hamonic’s life – when he was 10, still a minor hockey player in St. Malo, Man. – his father passed away suddenly following a massive heart attack at age 44. Now, more than a decade later, Hamonic is using his tragic story to help children who have lost a parent. In the E:60 story, Hamonic’s impact on two children is highlighted, including Thomas Callahan, who says he doesn’t know where he would be had it not been for the help of the Islanders’ defenseman.
In Hamonic, the children have an outlet, someone to talk to and rely on for some guidance, when they may feel the most alone. It is his work with the New York Islanders Children’s Foundation, under the name “The Hamonic D Partner” program, that got Hamonic the nod as one of the 40-plus nominees by All Sports United.
Though the “Most Valuable Philanthropist” voting opened last month, only recently did Hamonic vault to near the top of the voting. As of Monday morning, Hamonic garnered 13 percent of the vote, coming in behind only former NFL quarterback Brett Favre, who leads the pack with 18 percent of the vote.
Once voting closes on May 15, the field will be narrowed down to the 10 highest vote getters, with the winner then being decided again by fan voting.
In 71 games this season, Hamonic scored a career-high five goals and 33 points. With 323 games under his belt, Hamonic, a second-round pick, 53rd overall, by the Islanders in 2008, has 18 tallies and has 111 points.