Calgary Flames hockey sticks
Dec 19, 2019; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames players hockey sticks prior to the game against the Montreal Canadiens at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The first NHL player has opted out almost immediately after the NHL and NHLPA ratified the new CBA and RTP plan. Travis Hamonic of the Calgary Flames, citing concern for his daughter who nearly died battling a respiratory virus just last year, will not play.

Travis Hamonic opt out statement

Hamonic released a statement through his agent explaining the very difficult decision. “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,” he explained.

The Flames defenseman said he wants to be out there with his teammates and wished them well. In the end, Hamonic’s decision is that of a father’s that I understand deeply.

“Being my little kids’ dad everyday is the most important job I have.” Well said, Travis.

Few NHL players expected to opt out

In a recent report by TSN’s Frank Seravalli, he indicated multiple players are considering opting out. This prompted me to reach out to some league source and ask what they expected. Unless something changes from last night, very few players are likely to do so.

NHL players will have until Monday to let their respective teams know if they will not return to play this season.

The big question is how many players league-wide will opt out? Last night, TSN’s Pierre Lebrun reached out to a several teams that told him they have not received any requests to opt out but he does expect a some by the Monday deadline.

Concern for players like Kaapo Kakko and Max Domi

At this point it is very well documented that both New York Rangers forward, Kaapo Kakko and Montreal Canadiens forward, Max Domi are diabetic. Kakko is in NY and has already been cleared to participate in Phase 2 workouts. However, the decision to play could be taken out of their hands should the medical team determine after a Pre-participation Medical Exam they are too high a risk.

Per the new RPT plan, they can both seek a second opinion to contest the decision. For what it is worth, both players are expected to be cleared to play.

Anthony Scultore
As CEO of FTHN, LLC, Anthony has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. He is also the Director for Hockey Content at Sportsnaut.com. His work is featured on Bleacher Report, YardBarker, and MSN. Features also linked on NBC, ESPN, TFP, NY POST, NEWSDAY and more.