Agents & Junior Hockey
No a Player does NOT require an agent at ALL times.
However, heading into the CHL draft or moving forward from that point forward, there are important situation and decisions that will arise wherein having an informed and professional representative will be extremely beneficial.
“What expectations should one have of an agent or family advisors at this juncture in your career?
Information is key at this point in your career and development. If there is one thing parents and players need prior to CHL draft it is accurate information. There is a LOT of rumour, gossip and straight out misinformation floating around and having someone to separate fact from fiction can save you from a lot of head aches and sleepless nights.
A large part of the Agent job is to simply answer questions and provide timely information so that their clients can make informed, quality decisions. A good agent should be able to call up a random coach they don’t know and find out Who, What, Where and Why with little difficulty or fanfare. When they are well connected, all the better for you.
Many players rush to sign their CHL contract fresh out of the draft only to find out that although they were promised one thing, the reality turns out to be somewhat different then what they had anticipated. Now, what can you do, who do you talk to or what options are available? It hardly seems reasonable to let a 16 or 17 year old sit in the GM’s office in front of the Gm, Coach and assistants and negotiate their future without adequate guidance.
I’m not suggesting your club is underhanded or has nefarious plans, but it is a business and you have to be prepared for all eventualities. The benefit of an Agent is that you will have someone to ask these types of questions to. He should know what’s what and who’s who or in the very least be able to find out more information that you can. There are always minor problems, questions or concerns that pop up and having someone there who can quickly put out the fire and save the day has enormous value.
What SHOULD they provide you?
In general, having an agent is like any other relationship. You need to develop it and build trust and friendship. At the end of the day, you want someone who is competent, who can deliver on his promises and help to create and exploit opportunities for your Player. Don’t be dazzled by all the song and dance. Just because they have a big name player, doesn’t mean you will get the same priority, exposure or representation.
If you think getting a free pair of skates or an extra stick or autograph or phone call from one of his NHL Clients is the most important factor, then don’t be disappointed when music stops and you are left without a chair to sit on.
Find someone who is competent and who values you and will help you effectively.
Trades / Problems
When problems arise and an Agent is unable to facilitate a reconciliation between the Player and Club, then a trade may become the best alternative. It is for this contingency where you are most likely to need an agent throughout your son’s career. If things become untenable for whatever reason (no ice time; unfulfilled promises; injury; bad chemistry etc…) you will need someone to facilitate a trade. Once again, management can and will intimidate their players for their own benefit and in these types of instances a player needs to distance themselves and their ‘character’ from the situation and have the heavy lifting done by a representative. Taking heat for the client and being the bad guy is part of the job description, if need be.