09 July 2010
Travis Hamonic had played his entire WHL career in Moose Jaw with the Warriors. A team that during Hamonic's first couple seasons was a young one. "There was a lot of pressure and a lot responsibility on my shoulders," Hamonic said about his time in Moose Jaw. "Working with a lot of younger players, [we] were kind of struggling throughout the seasons a little bit."
That changed though on the trade deadline, January 10th, 2010, when Moose Jaw sent Hamonic to veteran packed Brandon Wheat Kings at the final hour. "The deadline was at 4 o'clock and the deal never went through until 4:45." Hamonic said. "I thought the deadline had came and passed." When the call finally came Hamonic was at his home in Winnipeg resting from his World Junior experience. His Initial reaction was excitement to be joining a team "great talent and a good core of older guys." However saying good bye to his teammates in Moose Jaw was plenty difficult, but Hamonic appreciated Moose Jaw giving him the opportunity to move on. "I was very thankful and great full that Moose Jaw gave me an opportunity to move on to Brandon and go through the playoffs," Hamonic said Thursday. "To get a chance to push through the playoffs and go through that grind and try to grow a playoff beard, even though it wasn't too good, it was something that obviously meant a lot to me."
Hamonic would play 10 regular season games netting one goal and four assists for the Wheat Kings. He then added four goal and seven assists in 15 WHL playoff games with the Wheat Kings. Since Brandon was the host city of the Memorial cup Hamonic got to experience what the memorial cup was like. "You can't put a price on that sort of experience," Hamonic said about his memorial cup appearance. "That was huge for me." Unfortunately for Hamonic and his Brandon Teammates they fell just short, losing to number one draft pick, Taylor Hall, and the Windsor Spitfire. Although losing was difficult it experience that Hamonic feels he has become better because of it.
Now two years after being drafted, playing in the World Juniors and competing for the Memorial Cup, Hamonic is ready to make his mark with the Islanders. "At this point I think it's time to turn the page on my junior career," Hamonic told reporters on Thursday. "I think I've shown a lot of stuff I can do offensively and defensively. I think now it's time to move on and obviously try to become a pro here."
Hamonic signed his entry level contract last may and is set to compete for a spot on the roster come training camp in September. So how ready does Hamonic think he is for the NHL? "I feel very close. Hamonic responded when asked. "I think I'm right there. Obviously I think I've done the things in the last two years especially to prepare myself to get to this point. Now it's obviously up to the coaching staff and manger staff." Hamonic will continue to work through the off season to get bigger and stronger and be ready to compete for a roster spot. "I feel defiantly ready and if the season was tomorrow I think I'd be able to step in," Hamonic later said confidently. "But the Islanders are going to do what they feel is best and obviously id be ok with that."
When Katie Strang asked What it would mean for him to make the team, Hamonic's face lit up with a smile. That was answer enough for anyone.
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