Flames' Travis Hamonic Becomes 1st Player to Opt Out of NHL Season Restart

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 11, 2020

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 16:  Travis Hamonic #24 of the Calgary Flames skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on January 16, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Flames defeated the Maple Leafsd 2-1 in a shoot-out. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving announced Friday that defenseman Travis Hamonic has informed the team he's opting out of the remainder of the 2019-20 NHL season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"Travis explained that due to family considerations, he has made the difficult decision not to participate in the Stanley Cup Qualifier and Playoffs," Treliving said. "While we will miss Travis in our lineup, we understand and respect his decision. Our focus remains on preparation for training camp and our upcoming series in the NHL Qualifying Round."

Hamonic, who will be a free agent at the end of the season, is the first NHL player to confirm he won't take part in the league's restart, per ESPN's Emily Kaplan.

The NHL announced Friday it had reached an agreement with the NHL Players' Association on return-to-play plans, which also included a four-year extension of the collective bargaining agreement through the 2025-26 season.

Play, which was halted in March, will resume Aug. 1 in the Canadian cities of Toronto and Edmonton, Alberta, the league's "bubble" locations. Twenty-four of the league's 31 teams will take part in playoff seeding and qualifying rounds over 10 days before the postseason is slated to start in earnest Aug. 11.

"While we have all worked very hard to try to address the risks of COVID-19, we know that health and safety are and will continue to be our priorities," commissioner Gary Bettman said. "We know that all of our fans are excited about our return to the ice next month, and that has been our goal since we paused our season on March 12."

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Hamonic registered three goals and nine assists across 50 appearances for Calgary during the 2019-20 regular season. He's spent the past three years with the organization after seven seasons as a member of the New York Islanders.

The 29-year-old released a statement through his agency, Titan Sports 365, about his decision to opt out because of family health concerns:

Hamonic's one-year-old daughter was hospitalized last year because of a respiratory illness, per Kaplan.

Michael Stone, Erik Gustafsson and Derek Forbort lead the group of options to fill the void on the Flames blue line when play resumes.

Calgary, which owned a 36-27-7 record before the shutdown, will face off with the Winnipeg Jets in the qualifying round. The bracket will be reseeded once the 16 playoff teams are finalized.

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