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What you need to know about COVID-19: September 21, 2020
When Travis Hamonic called Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving with the news that he would be opting out of the National Hockey League’s ‘Return to Play’ program, it did not come from out of the blue.
Having traded for the 29-year-old blueliner in the summer of 2017, Treliving has been able to get to know the player — and person — enough to understand just how much family means to him.
On Friday, Hamonic had informed the Flames of his decision and released a statement through the sports agency that represents him, Titan Sports 365, indicating that the main reason he was choosing to exercise his NHLPA right was because of his daughter, Charlie, who had been rushed to the hospital at eight months old with a respiratory virus in early 2018. Hamonic was unwilling to put his family — and, now, two-year-old daughter — at risk of contracting COVID-19.
He was the first NHLer to reveal his decision to opt out of the ‘Return to Play’ plan.
Treliving said on a conference call Sunday that he had a productive chat with Hamonic on Friday and wasn’t surprised of his decision.
“Certainly that’s his rights, and we respect it,” Treliving said. “I had a good discussion with Travis, understood where he’s coming from, and that was the extent of it. Travis is not only a player but a person I know well. As I told him, I respect his decision. Every player has that right, that ability. But, like everything else, our focus is on the people that are here — that’s just the way it has to be. The focus is going to be on us getting ready over the next three weeks to play August 1st.
“Sure, we’ll miss him. But you move forward, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
However, on the back burner is Hamonic’s future with the Flames. The product of St. Malo, Man., becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2019-20 campaign.
However, Treliving indicated that those conversations will take place in due time, but not right now.
“I’m not going to speculate or put words in Travis’ mouth, that was his decision,” Treliving said. “From my standpoint, I respect it. UFA, all that stuff, we’re worried about getting ready for Winnipeg. That’s our worry right now. This sport, it’s hard so you have to be singular focused on the task at hand, and that’s all we’re going to be. We’re going to be singularly focused on the task at hand and then getting into Edmonton and getting ready for our first-round series.
“Whether that be Travis or any other player, contractual status is a discussion for another day.”
That also goes for the 2020 NHL Draft and free-agency period, which has been moved ahead from its usual summertime dates to the fall and after the Stanley Cup finals.
“Our 100% focus is on (Monday), and then it’ll be getting all of our work done in training camp and then getting ready for our series against Winnipeg,” Treliving said. “Now that we have timelines and dates … our preparation for a lot of those things took place in April, May and June with respect to scouting meetings and the draft and preparing for free agency. Nothing changes in that regard. We’ll have a group, scouting staff and management staff.
“But, organizationally, the priority is getting ready for Winnipeg.”
FLAMES TRAINING CAMP SCHEDULE
@ Scotiabank Saddledome — All ice times are closed to the public
July 13 — Group 1 @10 a.m.; Group 2 @12:15 p.m.
July 14 — Group 1 @10 a.m.; Group 2 @12:15 p.m.
July 15 — Group 1 @10 a.m.; Group 2 @12:15 p.m.
FLAMES PROJECTED LINEUPS
Phase 3 roster
Johnny Gaudreau — Sean Monahan — Elias Lindholm
Andrew Mangiapane — Mikael Backlund — Matthew Tkachuk
Milan Lucic — Derek Ryan — Dillon Dube
Sam Bennett — Mark Jankowski — Tobias Rieder
(Austin Czarnik, Zac Rinaldo, Alan Quine, Matthew Phillips, Glenn Gawdin, Byron Froese, Adam Ruzicka, Buddy Robinson)
Mark Giordano — TJ Brodie
Noah Hanifin — Rasmus Andersson
Erik Gustafsson — Derek Forbort
(Oliver Kylington, Michael Stone, Alexander Yelesin, Juuso Valimaki, Connor Mackey)
(Jon Gillies, Artyom Zagidulin)
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020