Coventry Blaze have announced that Canadian defenceman Justin Hamonic has signed a two-year contract extension with the club. Blaze head coach Danny Stewart has praised Hamonic’s commitment to ice hockey, asserting that the 26-year-old was vital to Coventry’s success last season.
Prior to his arrival in the West Midlands, Hamonic spent a year in France with Ducs d’Angers, where he featured in 47 competitive fixtures and contributed 10 points. The Winnipeg native also appeared in 193 ECHL and AHL games before moving to Europe.
As a coaching staff we are as excited to get him back as anybody
– Danny Stewart
Danny Stewart said, “Hammer [Hamonic] was a big-time reason for our success last season. His commitment to the game is as good as anyone I’ve ever seen. He’s in immaculate condition and on the ice a true competitor.
“As a coaching staff, we are as excited to get him back as anybody. He does so many things well. He is one of those intangible guys that falls under the radar sometimes but very much valued by us.
“His ability to win puck battles, puck races, his skating ability combined with his size and strength, allows us to play with the puck a lot more than without when he’s on the ice. He’s a big part of this club and to get him for two more years is great for everyone involved.”
Hamonic was appointed as an associate captain for the Worcester Railers in 2017/18. As a junior player, the stay-at-home defenceman spent four years with the Tri-City Americans, appearing in 255 fixtures on route to being named most valuable player and defenseman of the year in 2014/15.
August has been a positive month for Coventry Blaze.
Justin Hamonic is the latest player to return to the Skydome Arena for the 2020/21 Elite League season. The Canadian defenceman joins last season’s EIHL top-scorer, Luke Ferrara, and the league’s most efficient goalie, C.J. Motte, on the Blaze’s 2021 roster.
Broll, Schiestel and Bloodoff have also agreed to reconvene in Coventry
The imposing David Broll, captain Drew Schiestel and tricky forward Evan Bloodoff have also agreed to reconvene in Coventry ahead of puck-drop in the EIHL.
Most significant to Coventry’s aspirations, however, is the government’s decision to allow ice rinks to reopen in England. The league’s decision-makers still hope to begin the 2020/21 season with a ‘Magic 5’ event in December, signifying that clubs genuinely believe that hockey will return to British shores.
Coventry Blaze must be commended for their confidence in the recruitment market. By signing Hamonic and Ferrara to two-year deals, the Blaze have shown their commitment to being contenders for the years to come.
Hamonic excels in the areas where previous defencemen have floundered
Hamonic has proven his worth as defenceman in the EIHL. The former Worcester Railers associate captain is not a player prone to firing audacious shots from the blue-line, but Hamonic excels in the areas where previous Blaze defencemen have floundered. Hamonic’s strength on the back-check, especially since Motte’s arrival in December, was a key feature in Coventry’s post-Christmas form.
Danny Stewart has praised Hamonic for being “one of those intangible guys that falls under the radar.”
If the head coach believes in Hamonic’s intangibles, Blaze fans should have no reason to doubt the Canadian’s credentials. Hamonic registered 13 points in 48 Blaze appearances last term, his return to the Skydome Arena should be greeted with open arms.