Yesterday Travis Hamonic made headlines when he announced he will be opting out of Return to Play. He is the first of what might be more than a few NHL players opting out. He released a statement explaining his decision.
— Titan Sports 365 (@TitanSports365) July 11, 2020
Hamonic, who had a scare with his infant daughter last year, cited family reasons for opting out. He is also a pending UFA, and while not a star, Hamonic is a solid player. There were many supporting Hamonic and his decision. Yet there were a few knuckleheads who were upset with his decision.
1. First and foremost, it takes a lot of courage to be the first player to opt out. Hamonic opted out within hours of the ratification of the CBA and Return to Play. This means he already knew his plans. His family came first.
2. Family always comes first. Hockey is a game and, for these guys, a job. Putting it into perspective, would you quit your job if it put your family at risk? I know I would. It is no different for these players. The people who have the gall to criticize Hamonic for his decision need to take a step back. Look in the mirror and think about others.
3. If any Ranger player were to opt out, I would not be mad at the player. I’d be disappointed because it would limit my team’s chances of winning, but that’s where it ends. This is a serious disease in which there is no cure and no viable treatment. We are learning new things about this everyday.
4. It does make me wonder if opting out would have been less a concern if the NHL enforced shields on players and masks on coaches. That seemed like a no-brainer to me, but the league and players decided they didn’t want either. In a pandemic. Hamonic is the first to opt out, although I doubt this had impact on his decision.
5. The only Ranger I could have seen opting out is Kaapo Kakko, due to pre-existing conditions. He already received clearance from the Rangers to play and he’s already in camp. Still wouldn’t surprise me. We also don’t have much information about personal lives about the players.
6. If a player shows up to camp/hub cities wearing the Bubble Boy getup, I will donate $100 to a COVID-19 charity. Get on that.