While Travis Sanheim spends his winters competing in the best hockey arenas across North America, the Elkhorn product emphasizes he found his passion for the sport in his hometown.
This past spring the son of Kent and Shelly Sanheim wrapped up his fifth professional season. It was the third straight campaign he has played all of his games with the National Hockey League’s Philadelphia Flyers. Growing up in Elkhorn, the accessibility of the local rink and his friends helped Sanheim develop his interest in hockey.
“It was a dream back then,” Sanheim said of playing in the NHL. “Just the love of the game – going to the rink with my brother (Taylor, his twin), skating practically every day. I had a ton of buddies that we’d go out and play shinny out on the rink (with). A lot of great memories there. A lot of great friends there that I still stay in touch with.”
This past season the 6-foot-4, 210-pound defenceman scored three goals and collected 15 points in 55 games for the Flyers. The 25-year-old is a key member of a Philadelphia squad looking to get back to the playoffs next season. On The Athletic website, Flyers beat writer Charlie O’Connor stated:
“He’s an established part of their top two pairs, and actually finished second in overall ice time (21:53 average) to Provorov (Ivan, a fellow defenceman who averaged 25:00). … He’s firmly locked in as one of the team’s workhorse defencemen and has earned the trust of Philadelphia’s coaching staff.”
The Flyers protected Sanheim in this week’s NHL Expansion Draft being held for the Seattle Kraken. At press time, many observers believe Philadelphia is looking to re-sign the restricted free agent.
During the offseason, Sanheim is based in Brandon. It gives him an opportunity to see family, including his sisters Kalie and Shondalee, and long-time friends as well to concentrate on improving his game. His focus?
“Just working on all aspects of my game. Trying to be a complete player – that involves both ends of the ice.”
The passion Sanheim developed for hockey while growing up in Elkhorn still burns today. And it is not just for playing the game. He is an avid follower of the NHL. Sanheim acknowledges that teammates – not often – but sometimes jokingly call him “Bob McKenzie,” in reference to the long-time TSN Hockey Insider.
“Some guys call me ‘Bob’ … just sometimes when I come up with something that is going on in the hockey world,” Sanheim said. “Usually, I try to let the guys know what’s going on as I usually try to stay up to date. I try to follow what’s going on around the league.”
Back home, many people follow Sanheim and the Flyers. When asked about his hometown backing, Sanheim said that it is great to hear but acknowledges the province is of course home to the Winnipeg Jets. He is thankful for those who have followed his career.
“I appreciate the support and I’m glad to have everyone supporting me,” Sanheim said.