Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic is the winner of the 2016-17 NHL Foundation Player Award. The honor was announced on stage at the 2017 NHL Awards in Las Vegas. The Foundation Award is presented annually to the player "who applies the core values of hockey - commitment, perseverance and teamwork - to enrich the lives of the people in the community.
Hamonic's contributions to the community included the following:
• This season marks the fifth season of "Hamonic's D-Partner" program. Hamonic started the program in honor of his father, who passed away when he was 10-years-old. During each Islanders home game, Hamonic invites a child or family, who have lost a parent unexpectedly, to attend a game. As his guest, they get to high-five the team as the players take the ice and watch the action from Hamonic's personal seats. After the game, the guest(s) meet Hamonic, receive autographs, take pictures and Islanders gifts. What sets Hamonic's program apart from others is he sits down with each family and they share stories about their lost family member(s) and how they are and have coped with the situation. The program strives to provide comfort and guidance as Hamonic and some of his biggest fans heal together. The St. Malo, Manitoba native has purchased season tickets for the D-Partner Program in each of the last five seasons, totaling more the $50,000.
• The program reached new heights in the 2014-15 season, when ESPN featured Hamonic's D-Partner Program on their Emmy Award winning sports journalism show, E:60. The feature pushed the program into the national spotlight and Hamonic began receiving requests from suffering families when the Islanders played games on the road. At home, the program now has a wait list for families hoping to connect with the Islanders alternate captain. Hamonic has worked with more than 150 families and over 200 kids since the program's inaugural season five years ago.
Video: Travis Hamonic up for NHL Foundation Player Award
• Hamonic regularly works with local bereavement organizations such as Center for Hope, COPE (Connecting Our Paths Eternally), Answer the Call (New York Police and Fire Widow and Children's Organization), Tuesday's Children, Hospice Care Network and more to help those who has lost loved ones, cope and heal.
• Since 2010, the Islanders defenseman has served as an ambassador for the Children's Wish, a non-profit wish granting organization for seriously ill children who are not able to experience a normal, carefree childhood. Hamonic also attends fundraising events for the organizations during the off-season.
• Along with working with bereavement centers and a non-profit counseling organization, Hamonic enthusiastically supports the Islanders Children's Foundation by making financial contributions. Hamonic is the archetype of humanitarianism at charity events, team functions, hospital visits and school appearances. He is an active participant in Islanders School Days, Hospital Visits, charity Golf Outing and charity Casino nights. He is also a participant in the NHL's annual "Hockey Fights Cancer month every October.
• The seventh-year NHL veteran regularly takes time throughout the summer to participate in charity events and programs to help continue to grow the game of hockey back home in Canada as well as on Long Island. Through his devotion to community and the D-Partner program, Hamonic builds long-lasting friendships. During each meeting with a family he's had a connection with, he encourages them to stay in touch by means of his personal email.
o Through this connection, one of the kids that Hamonic met was contemplating suicide after his father passed away. The child reached out to Hamonic through email and Hamonic took the proper steps to provide help for the child. Since then the child is doing much better and living a healthy life with his family.
• Hamonic was the 2013-14 Islanders "good guy" award recipient, given annually by the Long Island chapter of the PHWA, to the player who best displays professionalism, courtesy and cooperation with the media