When is the right time to hire an agent or advisor?
Over the years hockey parents and players alike have reached out to me asking that very question.
When is the right time?
That’s a very loaded question given the ever-changing climate of the game and definitely depends on who you ask within the game as well.
Who should initial the process?
Should parents be chasing agents?
Do agents chase the kids, if so, what does that look like?
Question after question.
What about the money?
How much does it cost or how much should it cost?
How does all of that work?
Is it a money grab?
Some would suggest yes especially with some agencies or agents themselves, while some applaud the efforts of the agent or advisor.
I have been told by some sources that it might very well be a money grab for low level agents, and that they might cost the player opportunities instead of generating them.
Many parents and players believe the only time the agent/advisor gets paid is when the player turns pro or signs a contract. It doesn’t always work that way.
“Come train with us during this week at our camp for $400, in some cases the good players go for free. They set things up like that sometimes if the agent or agents feel they can generate cash down the road.”
Growth and development are everything when it comes to the game. Obviously, you can’t fault a particular agency investing on the player development side of things to help the player improve.
This is one area where things might get a little murky or where the lines get somewhat blurred.
“There are a few agencies that will charge a service fee to help their clients. I don’t know the exact cost, but in general most agencies do not charge a fee,” said one person in the business.
“The only time an agency receives money from a player is when they sign a pro or NHL contract and actually play in the ECHL, AHL, NHL or professional hockey abroad.”
One take away from all of this is the “chase factor.”
“So, this is why you can go back and say why parents shouldn’t go out and look for an agent because the only time most agents that don’t charge a fee, they only make money is when they make it big,” added the agent that wants to remain anonymous for obvious reasons.
“If the family and the player are good enough and are looking to go to prep school states side, then definitely an advisor can set up tours of schools, but honestly with players going into their QMJHL Draft year it would be recommended to have one if they are a top prospect.”
“When you look at it, the agency is actually investing a lot of time, effort and their own money in the clients that they feel will make it.”
That last statement raises another great point. So, parents shouldn’t chase agents we can appreciate that, but what if the player is deserving, a late bloomer and is only coming into their own around within the U-18 ranks? Does that mean they have pro potential? Some parents have reported to me that they don’t want to miss out in providing potential exposure or opportunities from not having an agent or advisor.
Do agents and advisors have pull?
Can they create opportunities within the game through their or their agencies countless contacts?
Is it all about showcasing and promoting?
Who determines if the player is a top prospect?
One NHL source had this to say about the entire process.
“A few things I would suggest is not to be in a rush to choose an agent just because other players have an agent.”
“You have to take the time to get to know the agent and make sure the family feels comfortable with the agent. The higher profile agent isn’t always the best option.”
“Higher profile, usually less service unless you are a very high-end prospect,” they added.
One team executive had this to say when asked to share their thoughts on the subject.
“That’s so hard.”
“Always meet face to face, and I mean always. Parents always should ask around about agents and ask to speak with other parents and families that have agents.”
“I would also say to remember that no decisions are final. If you choose an advisor and it doesn’t work out, move on. If you decide you want to go to college and then change your mind to the Q or something like than do it.”
“Nothing is written in stone, there’s so many paths, the NHL or bust take is crazy.”
“Parents and players must look at the opportunities, and education. To be honest with you everyone is in a God damn rush to get as high and as far as they can. Case in point, what about the late bloomer. There’s plenty of those kids out there, things can change, priorities can change and opportunities can change.”
“I guess, I would say be fluid and be open,” they added.
“Setting your “North Star” is important but being open to that “North Star” changing is too.”
“I will say this, there’s some really good guys in that business,” they concluded.
What is the difference between agent and advisor is another question that parents and players want to always know?
“Well, technically everyone is considered an advisor until the player signs a contract or turns pro.”
“Because NCAA rules don’t allow agents to represent players, but an “advisor” can help them with their chosen path in the game and when it comes to those rules, that’s totally acceptable,” said someone in the business.
Like any subject in the game of hockey, there’s more questions than answers when it comes to discussing the role agents and advisors play within it.
The most important aspect to consider in all of this would be to keep asking questions. When speculation and the unknown take over that’s when things can go awry.
Why should every aspect of the game always travel at warp speed?
When is the right time to hire an agent or advisor?
The answer to that question continues to be a complex one indeed.
Everyone involved wants what is best for the player and family and that’s something they should never lose sight of.