After racking up his highest point total in four years of junior hockey, defenseman Travis Hamonic is looking to go pro, having signed a three-year entry-level contract on May 27th.
Hamonic, the Islanders 53rd overall selection, said “I think last year, me going back to juniors and playing my 19-year-old season was probably the best thing I could have done. I was just very thankful that Moose Jaw gave me the opportunity to move on to Brandon and go through the playoffs and play in the Memorial Cup.”
“The things that I learned in juniors were huge. I was blessed to have great teammates and fans around me, but obviously even better coaches and managers,” Hamonic continued. “They gave me an opportunity. I think I made the best of it.”
The defenseman played the last three-and-a-half seasons for the Moose Jaw Warriors before being traded in the middle of last season to the Brandon Wheat Kings. In 41 games, Hamonic tallied 11 goals and 33 assists for 44 points – an impressive point total for a D-man.
“It’s not easy for defensemen to make the jump, but he certainly has a lot of things going for him,” said Islanders Head Coach Scott Gordon.
In the 2008-09 season, Hamonic ranked first among Moose Jaw defensemen in goals (13), assists (27) and points (40). He practiced with the Sound Tigers at the end of the WHL season.
“I think I’ve done the things, in the last two years especially, to prepare myself to get to this point,” Hamonic said. “Now it’s obviously up to the coaching staff and the management staff, but for me I just have to make sure that I go out there, prepare myself physically, mentally and work hard. [I need to] continue to get bigger and stronger throughout the summer to come back in September to push for a roster spot.”
While Hamonic has things he still wants to improve upon, Coach Gordon is impressed with what he’s seen thus far. “He had a great year last year, he’s got great size and strength, and he skates well, so anything is possible,” Gordon said.
Like any young player, if Hamonic has the opportunity to play for the Sound Tigers or the Islanders this season, he will be extremely grateful.
“The smile on my face says it all. You play your whole life to have the opportunity to play in the National Hockey League and have the chance to play my first game here this year hopefully, it’s breathtaking.”