Canucks defenceman Travis Hamonic will be double vaccinated 'soon': coach

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VANCOUVER — Defenceman Travis Hamonic has returned to the Vancouver Canucks after missing the start of the season due to personal matters.

Hamonic, 31, spoke with media Monday after practising with his teammates for the first time this season and said he is following the NHL's protocols for COVID-19.

He declined to specify what kept him away from the Canucks (3-5-1), saying only that he's been going through an "extremely difficult time."

"My family’s walking this walk with me and understands fully what’s going on and the (Canucks) organization does as well," Hamonic said. "So for me, those two very important groups in my life understand what’s going on, that’s enough for me.”

Canucks head coach Travis Green said Hamonic will be double vaccinated "soon" and could slot into the lineup as soon as Tuesday, when Vancouver hosts the New York Rangers.

“He looks sharp. I thought he looked better today than I imagined he would," Green said. "I think he’s kept himself in phenomenal condition. Looks leaner than maybe he has in the past.”

Hamonic, who hails from St. Malo, Man., played 38 games for Vancouver last season, registering 10 points (three goals, seven assists).

He said he didn't foresee anything keeping him from the team when he signed a two-year, US$6-million deal with the Canucks in July.

When Vancouver opened training camp on Sept. 24, though, Hamonic was absent. He was granted a temporary leave of absence on Oct. 18 and assigned to the club's American Hockey League affiliate, the Abbotsford Canucks.

He played in Abbotsford Saturday before being recalled to the NHL club on Monday. Rookie defenceman Jack Rathbone was reassigned to the minor-league team in a corresponding move.

Hamonic was peppered with hugs from his teammates ahead of Monday's practice. Getting back to work in Vancouver was big, he said.

“Today’s been one of the best days I’ve had in a long time, being on the ice with the guys and being back out there," said Hamonic, who's played 675 regular-season games over 11 NHL seasons with the Canucks, Calgary Flames and New York Islanders. "It’s the funnest part of my life, being a hockey player. So I’m happy to be here right now.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 1, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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