A Stanley Cup champion from a small town in southwestern Sask. continues the local theme for inductees heading into the Ted Knight Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame in July.

Swift Current-born forward Travis Moen was one of four individuals to be announced under the player category for the 2024 induction class at the beginning of the month. 

The 41-year-old, who retired on Nov. 29, 2016, received an email a few months ago from the hall of fame asking him to contact them. During the ensuing phone call with them, he learned his name was going to be added to the institution that honours the greatest players, coaches, managers, volunteers, and teams in Sask. hockey history.

"As a kid growing up you believe you're going to make the NHL but then to actually do it and then to have your name etched in the hall forever is pretty cool," he told Swift Current Online.

He spent his entire childhood in Swift Current Minor Hockey and even double-dipped at a young age suiting up for Stewart Valley at the same for a few seasons. Moen was overlooked in the 1997 WHL Bantam Draft, which caught him a bit off guard. He was listed later on by the Kelowna Rockets.

At 16, he played for the Swift Current Legionnaires almost helping guide the team to the 1999 Air Canada Cup but falling just short against the Regina Pat Canadians. That same season he played four games for the Rockets.

The 6-foot-2 left winger was drafted by the Calgary Flames in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft in the fifth round, 155th overall, after his rookie campaign in Kelowna. But the NHL team never signed him. On Oct. 21, 2002, he put pen to paper on a contract with the Chicago Blackhawks and was assigned to their AHL team, the Norfolk Admirals.

"That was kind of my whole career (being overlooked by teams)," he said. "Having to fight and claw for everything I could get. I wouldn't have it any other way. I think a little bit of adversity in kid's lives is really important for them to reach their full potential and their future goals."

Moen made the Blackhawks out of camp the following season and made his NHL debut on Oct. 8, 2003, against the Minnesota Wild logging 10:58 in his team's 1-0 victory. His first NHL goal on Nov. 1, 2003, against the St. Louis Blues goalie Chris Osgood was the game-winner. 

"Getting called into the dressing room and told you're going to make the NHL was a pretty cool experience," he said reflecting back. 

His most memorable moment came a few seasons later with the Anaheim Ducks as they captured the Stanley Cup on June 6, 2007, defeating the Ottawa Senators 6-2 in game five. Moen scored three goals in the series, two in the final game, including the Stanley Cup-clinching winner in the lopsided victory.

"It was a pretty cool feeling to be able to know five to 10 minutes left in the game that you're probably going to win the Stanley Cup and really be able to enjoy and savour the last 10 minutes," he said. "When the buzzer hits, it's hard to explain, just a feeling of joy... It's such a long road and to be able to celebrate on the ice with the teammates that you've put so much time, effort, blood, and sweat in with, it's pretty special."

Having his whole family at the Honda Center in California for the crowning moment made the experience even more important.

Two years later he was traded to the San Jose Sharks for their 2008-09 playoff run where he had the chance to team up with Aneroid's Patrick Marleau who's also being inducted into the hall this summer.

"It's pretty special to be going in with that small-town feel, from southwest Saskatchewan," he said. "We have similar friends and families too. It's going to be a special night and well-supported."

Moen played parts of six seasons for the Montreal Canadiens and signed two big deals with the original six team, one in 2009 and his final deal in 2012.

"That franchise had so much history and so many great players that have played there," he said. "To be able to be around Henri Richard and Jean Beliveau and shake their hand. A lot of great memories in the game and I'm very thankful to have the support and family I do."

His final NHL game came in the 2016 playoffs as a member of the Dallas Stars, an organization he spent two seasons with.

Moen is unsure about what he'll be filling his shadow box at the Ted Knight Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame with but is excited to be a part of the large southwest induction class, which includes his good friend Jeremy Rondeau