There was a familiar face on the ice at Rogers Arena today.
For the first time since he re-signed with the Vancouver Canucks this offseason, defenceman Travis Hamonic practiced with the Canucks’ main group today.
Hamonic has been away from the club since before training camp. As rumours swirled that Hamonic wasn’t vaccinated, general manager Jim Benning said that Hamonic would be at training camp and that by opening night, everyone in their organization would be 100% vaccinated.
The club hasn’t said much else about Hamonic’s situation, calling it a personal matter and asking that his privacy be respected.
After a one-game conditioning stint with the Abbotsford Canucks, Hamonic is back with the big club and spoke to media for the first time in a long time today.
Hamonic was clearly emotional while delivering his statement and answering the subsequent questions.
It’s easy to tell that the past few months have been far from easy for Hamonic.
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“I think it goes without saying how thankful and appreciative I am to the entire organization,” Hamonic began. “Right from ownership to management, the coaches — especially the players — they have been extremely respectful and I’m extremely grateful. They’ve been more than helpful and especially supportive through this time for, for me and my family. It hasn’t been easy by any means, but I just need to say how thankful I am to the organization for their help through these last couple months.”
Hamonic acknowledged the fact that questions will remain, but he made it clear he didn’t want to answer questions regarding the nature of the personal matter that kept him away from the club, but stressed that only the organization and his family know the full scope of what he’s gone through, and that that’s good enough for him.
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“I will say that I am vaccinated and that I’m following all the protocols until that process is done,” added Hamonic, which would suggest he’s not fully vaccinated just yet.
Head coach Travis Green confirmed this to be the case later when he said that Hamonic will be double vaxxed “soon enough.”
This is an important distinction because until he’s double vaccinated, he doesn’t count as a “fully vaccinated player” under the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols, which would lead to further complications, should Hamonic not be double vaccinated in time for the Canucks’ next US road trip. That road trip will begin on November 11th with a game against the Colorado Avalanche.
Here is Hamonic’s full statement:
Once he began to take questions from the media, Hamonic became more emotional.
“I’m just trying to do what’s right for me and my family and get through this time and I’m happy to be here,” said Hamonic while choking up. “The hardest part about what I’ve been going through is that I haven’t been around. Today was one of the best days I’ve had in a long time being on the ice with the guys and being back out there. I mean, that’s the funnest part of my life, you know, is being a hockey player, so I’m happy to be here.”
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“As much as you love your job and as much as you love this game, and as much as I love being a hockey player, you know, there’s life outside of hockey, and sometimes it hits and sometimes you just got to kind of deal with those things and focus on them. You know that you’ve got a pretty good organization when they have their hands open waiting, waiting to welcome you back like they have, so that made this process so much easier for me.”
You can watch the entire 17-minute Hamonic availability, which includes questions from the media, by clicking here.