Drafted 74th overall by the Sabres in 1979, Hamel was rushed prematurely into the NHL in 1980-81. After scoring just 10 goals that season, he found himself mostly apprenticing in the minor leagues in 1981-82.
The apprenticeship did the speedy Hamel well, as he returned to the NHL for the next 6 years, 4 of which were with the Sabres. He constantly pushed the 20 goal mark in his seasons in Buffalo. However he was not counted on to score goals, instead he was turned into a reliable two way performer. His good speed helped him to become a good puck pressure player and penalty killer.
Hamel was traded to the Winnipeg Jets in 1986 in exchange for Scott Arniel. Hamel posted a career high 27 goals that 1986-87 season, but would slump to just 8 in 1987-88. Aside from an 11 game trial with the Los Angeles Kings, Hamel found himself on the outside of the NHL looking after that disastrous season.
Upon retirement Hamel briefly played in France before becoming a police officer in Quebec.