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A Canadian Player With The Calgary Flames Is The First To Opt Out Of The NHL Restart

He's concerned for his family.
Trending Senior Staff Writer

Could this be the first of many? Canadian Travis Hamonic is the first player to opt-out of the NHL restart. The rest of this season's games are supposed to start in August with Toronto and Edmonton as hub cities.

The league posted online about Hamonic's decision to not hit the ice again when games get back underway. 

A statement from the Calgary Flames player was also shared through his representative Titan Sports Management, which noted that concern for his family is why he won't play.

"I wish I could lace up my skates and be out there battling, blocking a shot and helping the team win, but my family has and always will come first," Hamonic said.

His daughter was hospitalized with a respiratory illness when she was just eight months old back in 2019.

Hamonic also now has a second child, a baby boy.

The Calgary Flames put out a statement as well about the Manitoba-born player not returning to close out the season.

"While we will miss Travis in our line-up, we understand and respect his decision," said Brad Treliving, general manager of the team. "Our focus remains on preparation for training camp and our upcoming series in the NHL Qualifying Round."

Hamonic is the first player in the league to opt out of the restart. 

"Due to what my daughter already has gone through and the concerns if she were to catch COVID-19, I've decided to opt out and seek a leave of absence from the Calgary Flames for the remainder of the playoffs," Hamonic said.

Anyone who wants to sit the season out has to notify their team within 72 hours of the NHL's Return to Play Plan being approved.

That happened on Friday so players have until July 13 at 5:00 p.m. ET to do so.

A player for the Vancouver Canucks also decided not to join the restart less than a day after Hamonic did.

The 24 teams that are participating in the league's return will travel to one of the two hub cities, Toronto and Edmonton, on July 26.

Qualifiers start on August 1 and the Stanley Cup Playoffs will follow after those games are played.

Both teams who had their cities chosen reacted to the news on social media.

"Hockey is coming home," the Oilers said.

Players with western conference teams will stay at hotels in Edmonton and those in the eastern conference will stay at hotels in Toronto.

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