It’s been quite a trip following the saga with Vancouver Canucks defenceman Travis Hamonic this season.
After general manager Jim Benning said that he expected Hamonic to be at training camp, the veteran rearguard would go on to miss not only camp, but the first month of the season as well.
More recently, Benning shed light on the reason for that:
“So, as I came in to talk to you guys, I talked to Travis before and he was on his way to get vaccinated,” said Benning. “So he was just on his way to go get the vaccination. He went over to the pharmacy, and had some second thoughts I guess. And then he went through some other struggles — issues that he was dealing with, so he took a leave of absence from the team to deal with those issues.”
Hamonic got his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine later than anybody in the organization and reported to the Canucks on October 26th without being considered “fully vaccinated” under the NHL’s COVID protocols.
This meant he could play for the club, but couldn’t travel with them on any road trips that featured stops in the USA.
Hamonic got just one game in with Abbotsford before being recalled to Vancouver on November 1st to play in the Canucks’ home contest against the New York Rangers.
Then when the team went back out on the road on November 10th, they loaned Hamonic back to Abbotsford. But then Hamonic didn’t play for Abbotsford.
Then on the 15th, Vancouver recalled Hamonic and inserted him directly into their lineup before loaning him to Abbotsford once again on November 22nd. Again, he didn’t suit up for Abbotsford.
This time around, we were told that Hamonic would be joining the team on the road, because the required 14 days since his second vaccine dose were going to pass shortly after the team left Vancouver, finally making him a “fully vaccinated” player under the league’s protocols.
But Hamonic didn’t end up meeting the team on the road, with head coach Travis Green saying he wasn’t feeling well.
On Friday morning, the Canucks recalled Hamonic once again. He was on the ice for practice and skated on the “fourth pairing” alongside centre Juho Lammikko.
Just seven hours after he was recalled, the Canucks loaned Hamonic back down to Abbotsford.
Fans had questions, and we had answers:
It was clear right from morning skate that the Canucks didn’t want to tweak their lineup that won two straight games.
The expectation now is for Hamonic to actually report to Abbotsford and get games in. He’s being sent there as a pure hockey decision.
Not because he’s not vaccinated, not because he’s rehabbing an injury.
Because the Canucks felt that, in his current condition, having not played since November 21st, they have a better chance of winning with him out of their lineup than they do with him in it.