On the ice, Hamonic has become one of the best defenders in the NHL, but off the ice is a world class person because of the experiences he has gone through in his life. At the age of 10 he suffered one of the worst losses a kid can go through: the death of a parent.
The now 24-year-old Islander defenseman lost his father, Gerald, to a heart attack on the night of September 15, 2000.
His story was the subject of an ESPN special that aired on Wednesday during the network's newsmagazine show E:60. What makes Hamonic's story so compelling is not just his tale of having to deal with the loss of his father at such a young age and reaching his dream to play in the NHL, but what he is now doing for kids who are going through the loss of a parent themselves.
Hamonic takes time to meet with kids who have lost parents after every home game.
"It's a lot of sharing, it's a lot of opening up to a lot of people you don't know," Hamonic says in the ESPN special about the encounters. "It's a sense where you can help each other out."
A lot has been written about Hamonic prior to and since the special aired on ESPN. Much has been said on Twitter and other social media outlets about the young Islander, who truly is a role model. Wednesday's segment on Hamonic highlighted what has made Hamonic a star off the ice as much as he is on it.
It is a rare glimpse at a side that isn't seen very often by Hamonic and documentation of what has molded him into the person he is today. If you have not seen it, it is certainly well worth tracking down on on-demand or online.
Anyone who has followed the Islanders, covers the team or spoken to Hamonic for a few minutes knows what a stand up person he is. What he does for children who have lost a parent is truly remarkable. and the example he sets should be what every athlete strives to do in his or her community.
"A lot of these kids I see some of them are lost," Hamonic says. "And some of them don't know which way to go. I see myself in a lot of them. I try to let them know the sun will come up the next day and it will get better."
The New York Islanders have always tried to draft players that aren't just talented hockey players, but also quality human beings. As the ESPN special showed Travis Hamonic certainly fits that billing.