Flames' Hamonic first to opt out of NHL restart

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Calgary Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic is the first player to opt out of the NHL's return to play, saying he based his decision on the fact that his daughter had a serious respiratory virus last year.

"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," the defenseman said in a statement.

The NHL and the players' association confirmed Friday they had agreed on a plan to restart the coronavirus-disrupted season on August 1.

Training camps are due to open Monday followed by a 24-team tournament that will take place in two Canadian cities, Edmonton and Toronto and finalize a field for the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The opening of training camps at teams' home facilities comes four months after play was shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Hamonic had three goals and nine assists in 50 games this season before the NHL suspended play on March 12.

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