REGINA - The setting couldn't be more perfect for Travis Hamonic's 600th NHL game.
Playing in Saskatchewan, a stone's throw from where he played the majority of his WHL career with the Moose Jaw Warriors, against the team he grew up cheering for in the Winnipeg Jets as a St. Malo, Man. native, in front of over 33,000 fans at Mosaic Stadium.
"It's a neat experience," he said at the Flames' morning availability. "Something I'll always remember. Hopefully many more to come, though.
"You obviously want to keep building and keeping playing more and more games but I think it's one of those things that at the end of your career, you can look back and whatever amount of games I'm fortunate (enough to play) - more so blessed from God to be able to play - you appreciate, but you look back and this one being 600, in this kind of setting and this venue … I think I'll look back and be happy with it."
Suiting up for this milestone matchup as a member of the Flames makes it even more special for the hard-nosed blueliner.
"Growing up a kid in Manitoba, you're going to be a huge supporter of the Jets," he acknowledged. "That's the way it was. So, I was a huge fan of the Jets while I was growing up, but obviously the team left and believe it or not, when I started playing junior hockey in Saskatchewan, I became a huge Flames fan.
"All the games are always on TV and those are the games you're exposed to so I naturally became a Flames fan."
Given his ties to the region and the distance from his home province, expect to see plenty of Hamonic jerseys in the crowd as the camera pans through Mosaic Stadium. He will have quite a few family members and friends in the stands, supporting him this evening.
"I have a bunch of friends who drove down from Winnipeg, my brother's here, my wife and my daughter are back in Calgary - she's eight months pregnant right now so she can't be coming unfortunately, she wanted to be here - as well as my mom. I'm excited for the people who are here. I've had so much support throughout my entire career.
"You get to these moments and it's not characterized, I don't think, by people being at one specific game. It can just be someone watching online or on TV or things like that. I know I've got support all over the place so for the people that could make it here and get here for this kind of setting, I'm very blessed and fortunate but there's a lot of important people that are watching on TV."
Video: "It'll be a lot of fun."
Since being acquired by the Flames in the summer of 2017, Hamonic has established himself as a steady presence on the blueline.
He's coming off one of his best seasons of his career, posting seven goals and 19 points, as well as a plus-21 rating in 69 games in 2019-20, and is a player Bill Peters can always turn to.
"He's one of those guys who is as consistent as they come," Peters assessed. "You can set your clock by him. You know what you're going to get from Hammer. He's a real good pro, real good in the room, real good when things are going bad, real good voice on the ice, communicates, brings a lot of energy to the rink. He really has a passion to play the game.
"He's had a good career to this point and he's a big part of what we do. Our PK numbers are good right now and he's a big part of it, on the back-end. He's willing to block shots and do all those things that don't show up on the scoreboard.
"He's a glue guy."