Classy ‘Til the End: Travis Hamonic Recognizes New York Islanders Fans
Mar 26, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders defensemen Travis Hamonic (3) takes a slap shot against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The New York Islanders defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 in the overtime. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Former New York Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic recognized the team’s fanbase for their passion and hospitality.

The Islanders traded Travis Hamonic to the Calgary Flames this weekend, closing the book on one of the biggest success stories in franchise history.

On Saturday, the Isles sent Hamonic and a conditional fourth-round pick to Calgary for a 2018 first rounder, 2018 second rounder and 2019 or 2020 second rounder.

Hamonic, 26, was selected 53rd overall in the 2008 NHL Draft. He was recently given the NHL Foundation Player Award, which recognizes his charitable work and good character.

Last week, Elite Sports NY highlighted his efforts:

When Travis Hamonic was ten years old, his father, Gerald, tragically died of a heart attack. What came next is nothing short of inspiring.

People who are confronted with an unspeakable tragedy can emerge from the incident in one of two ways: by surmounting it or succumbing to it. Said Jack Ewing, the influential journalist with the New York Times, “Any man can win when things go his way. It’s the man who overcomes adversity that is the true champion.”

Travis Hamonic not only overcame his adversity, but he uses it to help other ailing people, as well. It’s for that the 26-year-old Manitoba native has won the 2017 NHL Foundation Player Award — given annually to the player “who applies the core values of hockey—commitment, perseverance and teamwork—to enrich the lives of people in his community.”

Since January 2012, Hamonic has hosted at least one child and his family after every home game. He shakes hands, poses for photographs and signs autographs. Most importantly, he opens up about his own experiences.

“We’ve been through all kinds of therapy and grief camps,” Gina Dowling, the mother of three children, told Newsday’s Barbara Baker in 2014, “but I would trade it all for one hour with Travis. He really understands what the kids are going through. He’s been where my kids are.”

Through an E:60 profile and countless interviews including the one with Baker, Hamonic has revealed his true colors. “It’s tough,” he said. “I play a game for a living. What these kids are going through right now is real life. I’m reminded of that every night.”

In an interview with Newsday’s Arthur Staple on Monday, the grateful pro recognized the Islanders’ organization and their fans.

“The fans welcomed me and my family right from the start, a farm kid out on Long Island,” he said. “We didn’t have a ton of fans at the Coliseum then, but the ones that were there were so passionate and it was easy to see how much they cared.

“As we started to get better and more fans came out, it was still the same sort of passion. And as you got to know people in the area, they were always so gracious and really made us a part of the community.”

It’s fitting that Hamonic, who spent 444 games in blue and orange, ended his Islanders career with recognition for his efforts in the community. “If that was the last moment for me as an Islander, it’s a special one,” he said.

“There will be nothing but good memories to take away from my seven years there.”

Justin Weiss is a staff editor at Elite Sports New York, where he covers the New York Islanders and Brooklyn Cyclones. In 2016, he received a Quill Award for Freelance Journalism. He has written for the Long Island Herald, FanSided and YardBarker.