By Marianne Curtis
St. Malo native Travis Hamonic was finally able to live his dream of playing hockey in Winnipeg when his team the New York Islanders faced off against the Winnipeg Jets on December 20.
Prior to the game, Hamonic tried to stay focused even though he was very excited to finally take to the ice before a Manitoba crowd at the MTS Centre.
“I never really thought this would happen,” Hamonic told media before the game. “I am trying to keep my emotions in check but at the end of the day we have a task at hand and that is to win.”
At the end of the night, the New York Islands took the win at 3-2 in a shootout, a win that ended the Jets hometown winning streak. The Jets had won nine of their last 11 home games before meeting the Islanders.
While the MTS Centre crowd was fairly subdued it was obvious that Hamonic had some support in the stands. About one hundred friends and family attend the game to watch him take to the ice to watch him play in their own back yard. Despite the difficulty of obtaining tickets for the average fan, he personally managed to collect about forty tickets to make sure that his family and closest friends could attend the game. It was important to him to be supported especially by the fans that have not been able to travel to see him play elsewhere.
“Some people were lucky and had season tickets while others were not so lucky,” Hamonic stated. “It’s our first time to play hockey in Winnipeg since my midget year – but at the end of the day it’s just another hockey game.”
During the game, Hamonic got one assist and made some big hits and plays. Unfortunately he did limp off the ice during the second period but he did return and played another 29 minutes of game time.
Hamonic added that despite the outcome of the game, he was thrilled to play on Manitoba soil.
“Winnipeggers are very passionate and to have a NHL team back is huge,” Hamonic added. “The atmosphere is huge.”
It was quite the night for the nearly 100 friends and family of St. Malo’s Travis Hamonic in the stands of the MTS Centre when the New York Islanders took on the Winnipeg Jets.