At the time, Travis Hamonic hadn’t tickled twine for 378 days.
So when the Calgary Flames’ stay-at-home sort vowed that he’d bury a goal on the afternoon that his infant daughter Charlie was attending her first game, his wife Stephanie shot him a bit of a sideways glance.
“I was leaving the house and I always give my wife a kiss and obviously now my daughter, too. And I just turned to her and just bluntly said … ” Hamonic grinned, reliving this goosebumps moment prior to Wednesday’s late date against the Winnipeg Jets at the Saddledome. “I don’t know why I did, because I don’t score many goals, but I just bluntly said, ‘Dad is going to score you a goal this afternoon.’ ”
True to his word, he snapped out of his 70-game dry-spell during that memorable matinee, a bank-job off his boot in what turned out to be a 4-3 shootout loss to the Washington Capitals.
“It was kind of a fluky goal where I scored from the crease off my foot,” Hamonic said. “And I usually don’t get that animated ever when I score a goal, but I was so excited just because I was like, ‘Man, the promise came true.’
“When I got home, my wife quickly joked about not promising too many of those afterward. I can’t be breaking promises now that I’m a dad. But it was a cool, special moment.
“I’m grateful to God. I think that was a blessing, for sure.”
Charlie’s proud pops isn’t the NHL’s most prolific marksman, but he undoubtedly ranks among the league leaders in community impact thanks to a hat-trick of a completely different sort.
Travis and Stephanie Hamonic launched yet another charity initiative this week, their third. The latest is Charlie’s Children, a program that was inspired by the arrival in early May of their darling daughter and will provide car-seats, cribs, strollers and other must-haves for low-income families or single parents who are expecting a newborn.
The 28-year-old defenceman isn’t just lending star-power to the cause. He and Stephanie are funding the initiative out of their own pockets, with the Flames Foundation matching their contribution in full.
“We never realized some of the economic challenges that come with raising a kid and having a baby and truthfully how expensive it can be,” Hamonic said. “It’s unfortunate to think there are a lot of people that have fallen on really hard times and aren’t as fortunate and lucky as maybe I am. I think, between my wife and I, we realize that, we see that, and we’re just trying to do our part to help out as many people as I can.
“I’m not naïve — I know that I’m in a position where I don’t need to have the same (financial worries) as some other people, and I say that humbly,” he continued. “One of the first times that we went out shopping, when we were leaving in the car, I remember we kind of both said it at the same time . . . Between Steph and I, we just said, ‘We’ve gotta help.’ ”
Across the NHL, you’d be hard-pressed to name a guy doing more to help than Hamonic.
Through his D-Partner Program, he connects with kids who have lost a parent at a young age, as he did. The Flames blue-liner not only treats them to tickets and a behind-the-scenes tour but also opens up about his own heartbreak — he was only 10 when his father died — in what is often an emotional meet-and-greet.
Hamonic also introduced The Northern Project last season, footing the bill for Indigenous youngsters from Canada’s Territories to travel to Calgary to witness a game.
Charlie’s Children completes a hat-trick.
He might not light the lamp too often, but this guy is truly making his mark.
“I’d like to have more (charity programs), to be honest, and I say that dead-serious,” said Hamonic, who hails from St. Malo, Man.,Wholesale jerseys
and was honoured with the NHL Foundation Player Award in 2016-17. “I think the way I grew up and how I grew up, being a farm boy and being comfortable but never having too much, I think it was a blessing in disguise. My wife kind of grew up in the same humble beginnings.
“I joke about it that I’ll be old and done in this game one day, but I will be. That’s the truth, right? I want my kids to look up to me and think that I tried to make a difference and tried to help. I want my daughter to be proud of me and my wife, and I think there is more as a family that Steph and I can do, truthfully.
“It’s nice that you get recognized for those things, but that’s never why you do it. You hope that you can keep reaching and keep helping and try to build something that will hopefully sustain past my playing career.”