What Is An Agent?
Agents, also known as player representatives and family advisors, are intermediaries between teams and players. An agent acts as a buffer between the player, who is the agent's client and a team.
There are also agents who handle coaches. An agent cannot represent both a coach and a player because it would be a conflict of interest. If you are a coach wanting to get into the professional levels of hockey, then consider talking to an agent. Most of the following information applies to coaches as well.
In minor hockey, agents have played a positive role over the past 20 years by providing options to players to help develop them for the long term rather than for the short term. They focus on educating the player and the player's family about what is best for them.
Lawyers make up the majority of agents. The reason is that the contracts are intricate and in some cases complicated. Although most of their work at the professional level involves contractual readings, analysis and negotiations, they must also be people-oriented individuals.
What Does The Agent Do?
For his client, an agent will be involved in the following tasks:
The primary focus of an agent is to represent an individual, present their offering to a company and negotiate on their behalf for a fee. Agents are there to get their clients the best deal and help them to build a harmonious partnership with their teams. They align themselves with general managers and leagues. Their goal is to help the player become a future commodity for professional hockey. Agents are supposed to act in the player's best interests. It is their job to make sure that the player's involvement in the game is fairly compensated.
Through networking phone calls, meetings and watching teams, agents have been able to assist in the creation of quality teams. They watch available players and identify opportunities with teams. Their job is to find synergies and match the right player to the right team. A good agent will understand needs and position the solution to make players and teams happy.
Managing the relationship between a player and a team requires patience, compassion and understanding. Negotiation and writing a contract is not enough.
That is the agent's role. He looks into what you want. He understands what you need and who you want to become. He recommends the best avenues to follow and offers guidance.
Why Is An Agent Needed?
By the time a player is a young teenager, he becomes recognizable as a rising potential talent. Along with that come the calls from team managers, coaches and friends seeking him out to play for a specific team. I have seen many families get confused, misguided and frustrated with the pressures put upon them. Parents want what is best for their child and try to make the best decisions based on the information offered. In the fast pace of hockey and quick turnaround opportunities, having quality information makes for a better experience and a more successful journey in hockey.
In minor hockey, an agent is required to liaise with the player and his family. For the agents, it is usually a numbers game; only one out of a large number of players they work with will make it to the professional league.
Guidance is the main reason to consider an agent for the parent of a player involved in elite minor hockey. It can be overwhelming to be asked by numerous teams to play for them. It can be intimidating to be asked to play at levels you have only dreamed of in the past. Filtering the opportunities is what an agent does best. In addition to helping the player, an agent will also help the player's family by providing information and guidance.
Who Needs An Agent?
Hiring an agent can be a long process but it can be very rewarding, both financially and morally. Parents often take the advice of the first agent who comes along and find themselves frustrated with the results. Hiring an agent is like acquiring the services of a lawyer or an accountant. You probably want to get references, an understanding of their expertise and a full comprehension of the fees that go along with the relationship. Remember that agents are in business - they want to make money. They are not volunteers.
A discussion with an agent should be considered under the following conditions:
- The player is 15 years old or older.
- Two or more teams at the Major Junior level are interested in the player.
- The player is unsure of how to proceed (for example, playing Major Junior or getting an NCAA scholarship).
Minor hockey is meant to be fun and enjoyable. That last thing any teenager needs is pressure to deliver on their skills from outside sources. He is under enough pressure from himself and his team mates. Having an agent can ease the pressure and allow the skill level to come out.
Contracts drawn up between a player and a team usually have nothing to do with the agent. The player has an agreement with the agent to represent him in all dealings with teams and corporations. This includes a fee for service or a commission for the agent based on what is paid to the player. Regardless of your skill level, the agent will take his percentage off your total earnings negotiated. The percentage paid to an agent is usually between 3% and 7%. In some cases, an incentive bonus based on level of achievements is also included.
What to Ask Your Agent
Use this Player/Agent Questionnaire when contacting hockey agents for possible representation.
Use a separate form for each agent you contact.
How to Become an Agent
Most of the time, agents have a bad rap for asking for too much money and hold owners of teams hostage. The truth of the matter is that if you want to become an agent, then you need to understand people and be a quality negotiator.
It is not so easy to become a quality agent. Passing a test from the NHLPA will allow you to hold the highest credentials available for an agent. You must also be able to understand how to read and negotiate contractual issues. You must be able to plan for the future because an agent really is a futurist. They take the player as he is today and work with him for the future. In many cases it is three and four years later that the player blooms as a quality professional. This is when the agent can make his money.
Sports management is a science that has been around for years. It is the same concept as the consultant who provides a commodity or service for a fee and then moves on to his next assignment. The agent is only effective while his client has playing value to a team.
This is the official website of the NHL Player Association that highlights the certification requirements of agents.
This company provides valuable information about the sports' agent industry as well as the business of hockey.
The Hockey Source does not necessarily endorse all the information on the linked pages it provides.
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