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Make no mistake about it….,

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Over the next few weekends, many young hockey players, and parents, will be pressured into situations, which will forever limit their options of leveraging their hockey skills to receive an education.

Many players will be approached by agents and/or advisors and many will be not know the difference, or how it WILL change their opportunities for the future.

Both roles are important, but for different reasons.

If you use the services of an Agent…., or an unpaid Family Advisor, or an Advisor with whom your have an arrangement (verbal or in writing) to receive a commission based on possible future earnings, or if you have received anything of value from an Agent or an Advisor   (such as a stick, skates, or clothing, a meal or transportation or training program or Camp), you have likely eliminated one of your most valuable options as a hockey player, moving forward.

“Everyday, I hear mis-statements by agents, and young players and parents who rely on such mis-statements, that I think it is time to set the record straight….”

In this article, I will discuss The Use of Agents by our young hockey players.

Over the past few years, it has become more common for players to receive the advice and use the services of a third party individual  during their bantam and midget years, particularly if they are likely to be drafted in one of the Major Junior Leagues in Canada.

In my opinion, too many players and parents believe that they require the help of an agent / advisor to help prepare them for possible future decisions, negotiations, and promotion, and nothing further could be from the truth.

Do players require an agent or an advisor?

In most cases, I would say “NO”.

We constantly receive calls from families who believe that they need an agent/advisor, because someone else has suggested such, or they have been approached by a person hanging out at the dressing room doors, or in the stands at the local arena.

It has become a  “status” thing, with players bragging about the fact that they have been approached by an Agent or an Advisor, at the beginning of their Midget career (or sooner). For coaches to allow or encourage such communications, is purely irresponsible, in my opinion, but it goes on all the time. Responsible coaches chase / shoo these folks away from their dressing room doors, and not allow vulnerable players be influenced by these individuals.

Often players and their families make a decision to use the services of a person who has been hanging out at the dressing room door talking to them (and 5-6 others on their team), because they feel pressure to talk to them.

That person is generally playing “a numbers game”, and is hoping that one of the 50-100 players they are “working with” (of the same birth year) may be able to play professional hockey. Soon after the next season gets under way, he begins to focus on the few players that might move on to play professional hockey, while he again begins to chase down the next crop of 15-16 year old players (and stops paying attention to 90% of the ones he agreed to work with the year before)…., and I suggest that the players who could most benefits from their advise and promotional services will be the ones who will not receive such.

I know, because I often get calls from 18-19 year old players who have found themselves suddenly “by themselves”, and their agent will not return their calls. By then, it is too late.

Players and families need to understand is that the moment that an Agent enters the picture, the player is no longer eligible to play hockey in the NCAA. I will say this one more time, so there is no misunderstanding….

“The moment that a player becomes associated with an Agent, he is no longer eligible to play in the NCAA….”IGNORANCE is NOT an excuse….

This is the type of article that I print each year (around this time) to try to ensure that young players and families do not make the most common mistake of all….

ad-essocupinsidecovernewsletterWhen I originally wrote this (similar) article, I researched  and had many discussions with various officials within the NCAA to ensure that what I say is absolutely true, and that I do not mis-speak. Although much of this was originally written years ago, this article is as true today as it was back then (and likely more so).

I make some statements that I know will be controversial because many players and their families have been told the opposite by those whom they should be able to trust the most (their own advisors).

In completing my original research included in this article, I corresponded with the following Compliance Officers on this important issue; Ms. Amy Backus of Yale, Ms. Carly Parriseau of Boston College, Mr. Joel Ott of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Mr. Kevin Beattie of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Ms. Amy Medrim Foster of Cornell. I have also had correspondence with Ms.Rachel Newman Baker, the Director of Agent, Gambling and Amateurism Activities with the NCAA in Indiana, and Mr. Chance Miller, the Assistant Director of the NCAA Division of Agent, Gambling and Amateurism Activities. In addition to the NCAA Agent, Gambling, and Amateurism Division, I had spoken to officials at the NCAA Eligibility Center.

In my original article, these individuals had verified that what I said was absolutely (100%) true.

In the past, I have often read in newspapers when major junior team officials have stated that a certain player’s agent has not yet confirmed whether they will play NCAA or Major Junior hockey. The fact that they have been using the services of an agent to negotiate with a CHL team will dictate where they will not play. They will likely  never play NCAA hockey.

There is a substantial difference between a person acting as an Agent, as compared  to the activities of a Family Advisor, and there are significant differences between the way that a young player must be represented and/or provided advice.

There are many fine lines that cannot be blurred, because the NCAA will always rule in a way that will preserve the integrity of their rules.

The sad truth is that many athletes who have used the services of agents / advisors, who believe that they still have NCAA eligibility, do not…..

I constantly hear of very good hockey players who believe that if they have verbal agreements with Agents, or agreements that require them not to pay their Agents/Advisors, that they still remain eligible for NCAA play. It is not true.

In fact, what originally really got me hot about this issue is the fact that a few Agents (and/or unpaid Advisors) have actually told players that if they pay an agent/advisor to help them, that it will be what messes up their eligibility, when just the opposite is true.

Just recently, I have been consulted about an individual in my local area, who is not a “practicing lawyer”, but who has a law degree (is not licensed to practice law), and who charges an annual fee for his advisory services. In addition to the annual fee, he enters an agreement with players to receive a percentage of any future professional earnings.

As a person who has a law degree, you would think that that individual would know how to read and understand written legislation. Unfortunately, because he tells people that he has a law degree,, people assume that he must know what is allowed, and that what he states is true. In fact, it is not true, and he is a liar.

For a man who professes to have the answers (and boasts that he has a law degree), assuming anything else would be unreasonable….. and he has been hanging around dressing room doors and making vulnerable kids believe he is legit.

Here is what the NCAA legislation states. “An individual shall be ineligible per Bylaw 12.3.1, if he or she enters into a verbal or written agreement with an agent for representation in future professional sports negotiations that are to take place after the individual has completed his or her eligibility in that sport.

Further, the  NCAA publishes  a document known as the  “Agent Guide” (whiich every advisor and/or agent should have read)…. and it states, “When you are interacting on a one-on-one basis with student-athletes and providing advice regarding their future, you are likely to be advising them (unless your discussions include an oral or written agreement to represent them now or in the future, even if you do not act upon that agreement). “The Guide, then goes on and states. “Forming an oral or written agreement to represent, now or in the future, a student-athlete with remaining eligibility will render the student-athlete ineligible.”

Fact: A person, who enters an agreement that includes a provision for future earnings with an athlete is regarded as an agent by the NCAA.

Fact: An athlete who enters an agreement (verbal or written) with an agent is ineligible for NCAA athletics.

Fact: A person who enters such an agreement with an athlete knows, or should have known, that such an agreement would make that athlete ineligible for NCAA play, and to say otherwise is a bold-faced lie.

Fact: A person who enters such an agreement with an athlete has done so, wanting to promote that athlete for professional play (hopefully), or to drop them as an undesirable, once that player shows no promise to produce a future income for the agent.

Fact: And for sure….. and make no mistake about it….. a person who has a law degree and does not take the time to read the very legislation under which he (and his clients must fall under) is negligent at best, and a sleeze-ball at worst.

A fiduciary relationship exists between a sports agent and an athlete upon the signing of an agency contract, or upon the entering of any agreement (verbal or in writing), based on future earnings.

The fiduciary relationship results from the manifestation of consent by the athlete to the agent that the agent will act on the athlete’s behalf and in his/her best interests.

A sports agent (or someone who is regarded as one because of his activities) has a duty to discover and disclose to his clients material information, unless the information is so clearly obvious and apparent to the athlete that, as a matter of law, the sports agent would not be negligent in failing to disclose it.

Athletes have a limited focus. Their main goal is to produce on the field, court, or similar venue, and to do whatever is necessary to reach peak performance. Athletes are not always aware of all events concerning their affairs outside of the field of play, and rely on their agents to provide assistance when necessary, including the disclosure of all information holding importance for the athletes.

 Agency law also requires that sports agents use care in acting on behalf of their athlete clients and expend reasonable efforts to provide material information to them.

In my opinion, and (I’m sure) in most people’s mind the fact that a teenage hockey player would be unable to compete in future NCAA hockey would be a material fact that would need to be disclosed prior to the entering of such an agreement.

Additionally, a sports agent must not use his position or an athlete’s property to benefit himself or another entity, unless the athlete has given consent for the agent to do so.

If a sports agent receives any type of commission for referring an athlete to a particular company for any type of service, that agent is benefitting from his athlete client’s status, and unless the client consents, the agent is violating a fiduciary duty.

In the past 4 months, I have received a couple of dozen emails from various hockey academies and junior hockey programs, offering secret commissions to refer clients to them. I have gone so far as to respond and tell them that I would never send them a player under such circumstances, and that I take offense to such a suggestion. I know who is sending them players though. and those individuals are breaching their fiduciary duty.

In some areas of the United States, the Sports Agent Responsibility and Trust Act of 2004 (SPARTA) and the Uniform Athlete Agents Act (UAAA) have helped protect student-athletes and educational institutions against harmful acts by unscrupulous sports agents.

There are three main sports agent duties embedded in SPARTA’s regulation of unfair and deceptive acts and practices in connection with the contact between a sports agent and a student athlete. The duties are: 1) A duty to be truthful, 2) A duty of disclosure, and 3) A duty to refrain from “buying” an athlete.

In a March 16, 2016 Memo from Mark Hicks, Managing Director of Enforcement of the NCAA, and  Kris Richardson, Director of Academic and Membership Affairs of the NCAA, they pose a question and answer…. .and here it is;

Q) “Am I allowed to have an agreement with an agent if it is for future representation?”   A) “NO! You are not permitted to agree to a future representation agreement with an agent”

You May Not: Agree orally or in writing to be represented by an agent now or in the future after your eligibility is exhausted.

Under the By-laws of the NCAA, Section 12.3 Use of Agents, states;

12.3.1 General Rule.An individual shall be ineligible for participation in an intercollegiate sport, if he or she ever has agreed (orally or in writing) to be represented by an agent for the purpose of marketing his or her athletics ability or reputation in that sport. Further, an agency contract not specifically limited in writing to a sport

Section 2.3.1.1 Representation for Future Negotiations. An individual shall be ineligible per Bylaw 12.3.1, if he or she enters into a verbal or written agreement with an agent for representation in future professional sports negotiations that are to take place after the individual has completed his or her eligibility in that sport.

The NCAA also supports the Sports Agent Responsibility and Trust Act (SPARTA) as another viable tool, that can be used to combat the improper and illegal conduct of some athlete agents.  A violation of this act is deemed an unfair or deceptive act or practice prescribed under section 18(a)(1)(B) of the Federal Trade Commission Act.

ad-2017-chafindoutmoreBecause the potential loss of intercollegiate eligibility is a serious, and often unexpected, effect of entering an athlete-agent contract, this act provides student-athletes with a statutory right to cancel an agency contract within 14 days after the contract is signed without penalty. In addition, athlete-agent contracts subject to the act are required to disclose the amount and method of calculating the agent’s compensation, the name of any unregistered person receiving compensation because the athlete signed the agreement (such as a coach or runner) , a description of reimbursable expenses and services to be provided, as well as warnings disclosing the cancellation and notice requirements imposed under the act.

The potential loss of a student-athlete’s eligibility is also a serious concern for athletic programs at educational institutions. Accordingly, the act requires both the agent and the student-athlete to give notice of the contract to the athletic director of the affected educational institution within 72 hours of signing the agreement, or before the athlete’s next scheduled athletic event, whichever occurs first.

Where applicable, the agent must also provide this notice to a school where he or she has reasonable grounds to believe the athlete intends to enroll. The act would also provide educational institutions with a statutory right of action against an athlete agent or former student athlete (several, but not joint, liability) for damages, including losses and expenses incurred as a result of the educational institution being penalized, disqualified, or suspended from participation by an athletics association or conference, or as a result of reasonable self-imposed disciplinary actions taken to mitigate sanctions, as well as associated party costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.

Finally, the Act prohibits athlete agents from providing materially false or misleading information or making a materially false promise or representation with the intent of inducing a student athlete to enter into an agency contract, or from furnishing anything of value to a student athlete or another person before that athlete enters into an agency contract.

In the United States, where the use of agents is highly regulated, the act provides that an athlete agent may not intentionally initiate contact with a student athlete unless registered under this act, and may not refuse or willfully fail to retain or permit inspection of required records, fail to register where required, provide materially false or misleading information in an application for registration or renewal thereof, predate or postdate an agency contract, or fail to notify a student athlete (prior to signing) that signing an agency contract may make the student athlete ineligible to participate as a student athlete in that sport. The act would impose criminal penalties for violations of these prohibitions.

Unfortunately, no similar legislation exists in Canada, and if it did, many of these unscrupulous individuals would be held accountable, and they find that preying upon vulnerable athletes (who are not familiar with the NCAA) to be highly profitable.

Many 15 and year old players are heading into a Major Junior Draft in the Spring, and I think it is my responsibility to make this really clear…, if you are using the services of an agent or an advisor and you have not paid for such advice, or if an agent/advisor has negotiated in any way with any major junior (or any other) team that the NCAA regards as a professional team, or enter an agreement that will include any provision for future representation, you will be ineligible to ever play in the NCAA, regardless if you ever sign to play major junior, or not…., regardless if you observe the 48 hour rule…., and regardless if you ever play a major junior exhibition game or not….. because YOU have made a bad decision.

If you are using the services of an Agent (through a written or a verbal agreement), please do not embarrass yourself by making statements that you are still considering the NCAA option, as the decision to ever be eligible to play in the NCAA will have already been made for you because of your decision to not make yourself knowledgeable about the rules, or you have relied upon others who have provided bad advice.

I am aware of a 15 year old Canadian hockey player, who would have had a fabulous college career, and who has just entered an agreement with an NHLPA certified agent, who has told the family that so long as they did not enter a written agreement, the player will be fine (fine for what?).

That player will never play in the NHL, or likely ever receive a cent for professional hockey, but I know that he would have been able to leverage his hockey skills and other attributes to receive a free university education while playing NCAA hockey.

The agreement includes the possibility that the agent will get paid a commission based on future earnings, and that is what makes that player now ineligible to play NCAA hockey. It is a sad situation, and the player will only realize it when he plays his last game of Junior A or B hockey, but will never really know why he was never offered a college roster spot.

If I was that family, I would immediately begin to commence legal action against that individual for misleading me into believing that I still have NCAA eligibility.

For an agent (or an unpaid advisor) not to tell an athlete that by using their services they will be disqualified for NCAA eligibility, makes me believe that they have intentionally done so, and their errors and omissions or malpractice insurance carrier should be immediately notified.

For an agent (or unpaid advisor) to tell an athlete that their NCAA eligibility will be preserved by not entering a written agreement, or by entering an agreement that involves no payment of fees and/or for future representation, is an untruth (as best) and an intentional lie (at worst)….

Ask yourself….. “Can someone count on receiving (truly) independent advice  of an Agent,/Advisor whose income is directly tied to having a player earn an income as a professional hockey player?”

For these individuals, it certainly could be argued that it  would be preferable to have a player earning an income as a 20 year old, as opposed to a 24-25 year old (after a possible NCAA career that  would include a certain amount of injury risk)…., and so will the player receive independent advice or will it be tainted by conflict?

Any player who has ever received a benefit from an Agent/Advisor, such as a hockey stick, a pair of skates, a free practice, or training camp (sometimes with professional players to make it more appealing), a free round of golf, clothes, a meal(s), transportation, etc. is also ineligible to ever play in the NCAA.

The NCAA has a full time staff of investigators whose job it is to check the backgrounds of all players, through the investigation of fact, fiction, and rumour.

Most people believe that they will never get caught.

To NCAA Investigators, other players and parents are great sources of information (and so am I, as I attempt to move my clients up on the watch lists).

As teenagers, players cannot contain the fact that they have spoken to an agent, or been given a free hockey stick because of their “supposed talent”, or been invited to a free training camp with high-end players…… and their egos always come back to haunt them. At some point in teh future, if they are possibly going to be given the opportunity to play NCAA hockey, their investigative process will uncover the truth.

In a previous article,  have discussed the use of affidavits, as opposed to just the clearing house process. Refer to my recent article”, “A New Initiative That Will Be A Game Changer” for additional information. This will be an interesting initiative that will affect many players in the future.

As an elite athlete, one must always be aware of the things that are going  on around you…

Hockey is a very small world, and in Canada (especially) where few people know the exact NCAA rules, there are rules broken everyday, which have made players ineligible to play hockey at the NCAA college level.

Have you seen the movie, “The Blind Side”?

It briefly depicts the extent to which the NCAA will pursue possible infringements of their rules…, and to what extent they will be “picky”…..

A number of years ago, I spoke to a father who believed that his son would eventually play NCAA College Hockey in the United States. What he did not know was that his son’s midget coach had arranged a meeting between an agent and a few of his top players, and they all agreed that he could work with them (as an unpaid advisor), which made them all ineligible to play NCAA hockey.

I know because I have spoken to NCAA coaches about two of those players’ situations,. Those players and their families would have had no way of knowing that they had already been removed from the watch lists by college coaches.

A few of those players had received free dryland training sessions and had been on the ice with a few high-end players, at no cost to them. Accepting these gifts (not to mention a few free hockey sticks), ruined at least one college hopeful player and the several hundred thousand dollar athletic scholarship that he would have been  provided.

These players, who were in grade 10, were all drafted in a major junior draft that year.

Of the five players, one played one major junior exhibition game, one played one regular season major junior game, two attended camps but left within 48 hours, and one did not attend. All five were later ruled ineligible to play College Hockey because of the company they kept.

In my opinion, all five players could have received scholarships towards their post-secondary educations while playing college hockey. One is presently in University, four are not attending school, nor are they employed.

One player had earlier been presented an opportunity to attend a New England Prep School for two years to play hockey prior to (hopefully) playing NCAA hockey.

The Agent (who referred to himself an unpaid Family Advisor) had simply answered some enquiries on the players behalf from major junior teams, and so there was no question that the player had enrolled the services of an Agent (according to the definitions of the NCAA)…. He also spent hours tweeting about the player and promoting them as future hockey stars (another NCAA infraction).

Those player were disqualified from ever being able to play College Hockey.

Because the prep school would not allow players to play hockey who were ineligible to eventually play NCAA hockey,  his prep school offer was withdrawn.

At the time that the agent began making simple enquiries on behalf of this player with major junior teams (defined as professional teams, by the NCAA), and the moment that person undertook any activities at no cost (with the understanding that the player would only pay based on future earnings as a hockey player), the player became ineligible for NCAA play.

Those players became ineligible because of 3 different infractions of the rules, which the players would have simply seen as nice gestures by someone “who said he could be of assistance…..” or as I often refer to most of them as “Wolves in Sheep’s clothing”

Rachel Newman Baker (the NCAA Director of Agent, Gambling and Amateurism Activities) and Steve Mallonee (the NCAA Managing Director of Academic and Membership Affairs/Division I Governance Liaison), state “If you receive assistance from an advisor, you must compensate the advisor in an amount equal to the value of the services he or she provides you; furthermore, you may not receive such services at a free or reduced rate without jeopardizing your eligibility, regardless of whether the advisor does not typically charge clients for such services.”

Most parents of elite hockey players have heard of the “48 Hour Rule”. It is amazing, that most players know of this rule, but by the time any player ever has an opportunity to consider that rule, they are already disqualified from ever playing because of other infractions. The rule book is not just one line (48 hour rule), but rather consists of volumes of compliance issues. Those who are in charge of ensuring eligibility of players make up several departments of the NCAA.

We have often heard of the fact that agents are able to achieve great packages for their young players because they play the NCAA card. However, GMs of major junior teams know that players who use agents (regardless of what they call themselves) will not have that option available to them.

Given that players and families regularly forfeit hundreds of thousands of dollars in education money by making a poor decision, if you are considering using the services of an unpaid advisor, you are likely overpaying.

“Let the buyer  beware….”


Sincerely,

David MacDonald, SPAD
Hockey Family Advisor


 

 

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21-Year Old Rule

 

07NCAAconvLogoFlat_c2It is getting to that time year when many hockey players make serious errors that can limit their future options for playing NCAA college hockey.

One of the mistakes that many players. who are finishing up their last  year of junior hockey, make is playing past their 21st birthday without being enrolled full-time in university or college, leaving  themselves with only 3 years of eligibility to play NCAA Division 1 hockey.

What happens if I turn 21 during the junior hockey season?
If you play a junior hockey game after your 21st birthday you will lose 1 year of NCAA athletic eligibility leaving you with 3 years remaining. This rule applies only to Division I.

How can I turn 21, play junior hockey, and still retain NCAA eligibility?
Using the NCAA “transfer rules” you can continue playing junior hockey after your 21st birthday and retain 4 years of athletic eligibility if you enroll full-time at a college institution that does not sponsor a hockey program. Although you will lose some of your 5-year academic eligibility you will not lose any of your 4-year athletic eligibility.

When should enroll full-time if I am going to play junior hockey after my 21st birthday?
In order to avoid the hassle of registration when the hockey season is busy, you should enroll full-time in September. Also, in order to avoid difficulties with the NCAA Clearinghouse, you should register with the Clearinghouse before enrolling full-time. It is important to note that once you enroll in college level courses you can no longer write the SAT.

Does the rule apply to Division II and III?
No. The 21-year old rule applies only to student-athletes wishing to compete in Division I. It does not apply to those student-athletes wishing to compete in Division II and III.

If you think we can help you understand this rule or other regulations, please drop us a line.

 

A tale of two brothers, told by ASU hockey’s Brinson and Steenn Pasichnuk

 

Two siblings from Alberta, Canada continue their bond by playing with ASU hockey

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Photo by Josh Orcutt | The State Press

ASU freshmen and brothers, Brinson Pasichnuk (39) and Steenn Pasichnuk (28), are pictured while playing in a 5-2 victory against Air Force in Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona, on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016.

By Matt Layman

When ASU hockey successfully recruited Steenn Pasichnuk, a junior hockey player in Alberta, Canada, they wound up with more than they anticipated.

Brinson Pasichnuk, Steenn’s younger brother by two years and teammate with the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Bonnyville Pontiacs, had already committed to the University of Vermont. He later changed his mind, electing to seek out a school where both he and his brother could play.

“We went after those guys hard. They’re just two guys that wanted to go somewhere together,” ASU hockey head coach Greg Powers said. “They wanted to build something and be a part of something special. It was a natural fit, and it took one phone call with me and they committed. They really want to be here, and they can see it in their everyday effort.”

The future remains uncertain for the pair, but they’ll have time to think about it; Brinson and Steenn are both freshman, the former a defenseman and the latter a forward, with several years of collegiate hockey ahead of them.

They’re yet another example of family ties in hockey, a trend exemplified by an NHL full of Staal brothers and a Vancouver Canucks team that features the Sedin twins.

On Tuesday, Brinson and Steenn talked with The State Press to pull the curtain back on the life of two siblings in NCAA hockey:

ML: Brinson, Coach Powers told me yesterday you were committed to Vermont first before committing to ASU?

Brinson: Yeah, I committed at the start of last year. But then I thought about it, I wanted to play college hockey with my brother, since I was playing junior with him already. I thought there was a good chance we could do that. So I told Vermont, ‘Listen, here’s my situation,’ and they never went for Steenn or anything. So I de-committed there, and we just found the best fit for us. We’re pumped up we’re here.

ML: Steenn, what was the recruiting process like for you?

Steenn: He was committed to Vermont, I was talking to a couple of different schools. Then it just kind of happened where, we started talking about wanting to play together. He de-committed from Vermont, and we just both talked about it and said, ‘Let’s just hold off here for a bit and see what offer we can find that would suit both of us the best.’ ASU came knocking at the door and it was obviously the best pick for us.

ML: What’s the experience like as a high schooler playing junior hockey in Alberta?

Steenn: It’s pretty cool. We’re from a small hometown, too, so the hockey team is pretty big there. You’re kind of like celebrities in your own hometown, I guess you could say. Just a really cool experience, you go out in public and have people come up and talk to you about the league. Even stuff like talking to young kids who look up to you, it’s just a great experience.

Brinson: Both years of junior, I was in high school. So, it was pretty cool with the teachers – all the teachers kind of talked to me every day about a game, they’d help me out when I would go on road trips and miss class. They’d always be there to help me with tutoring after school. It was just really cool – all my friends, whenever we would hang out, go out in public, they felt pretty cool ‘cause everyone knew me. Everyone would come and talk to me when they were around me. It was really sweet – I loved it.

ML: Speaking of juniors, Steenn was the captain for a little bit on the Bonnyville Pontiacs. What was that like?

Brinson: It was cool – we looked up to the Pontiacs our whole lives growing up, so when we both were on the team for those couple years and he was captain, I was assistant, it was a dream come true.

Steenn: It was good. I had some great captains before me who played on that team that I could learn from and I could kind of ask questions if I had any. But it was a learning curve throughout the whole junior experience coming up last year, where, the coach kind of gives you the ropes. You’re just trying to lead the team your best, but all-in-all, it was a great experience and I did a lot of learning. It worked out well.

ML (to Steenn): Are you ever going to get away from your brother?

Steenn: (Sighs) I don’t know. We’ll see. It’s definitely easy for our parents. That weighed a lot into our decision. When they fly down, they only have to fly to one school, so they appreciate that a lot. But who knows. I don’t know if the guy can take care of himself without me.

Brinson: Yeah, I don’t know. We’ll see what happens after college. Our dream is to play pro, but you don’t hear of too many teams signing two brothers. We’ll see what happens. Whatever happens, we’ll be ready for.

ML: Speaking of playing pro, Brinson, you got to go to development camp with the NHL’s Minnesota Wild. How was that?

Brinson: Yeah, I went to Minnesota’s camp. It was eight days in July – really hard, it was a long eight days. You’re on the ice twice a day, you work out, you have meetings. It was long but a really good eye-opener.

ML: I read that you two like to hunt and fish – who is the better hunter and fisher?

Brinson: I don’t know, we’re pretty close – we’ve grown up our whole lives hunting and fishing since we were three years old. We love outdoors, all that stuff is pretty awesome.

Steenn: He shot a bigger deer last year, but in the years before that, I think I took the win. Like he said – we like to hunt, fish, snowboard; the outdoors and all that, we’ve been raised on a farm. We’re used to all of that.

ML: Brinson, you were an athlete in high school in handball, badminton and track. You had your hands full, huh?

Brinson: Yeah. I got a bronze medal in provincials in shot put. My handball team won provincials last year. I played mixed badminton, we won provincials on the ‘D’ side of the province. That was all pretty cool – I grew up loving high school sports. They’re so much fun. Being with your friends every day, it was pretty awesome.

Steenn: I played badminton, I was men’s doubles. Me and my partner were pretty good. We went to provincials every year. I think the highest we ranked was fourth on the ‘A’ side. So it’s not bad – fourth in the province.

ML: I’d imagine that Tempe, Arizona is pretty different from Alberta. What’s the change been like for you guys?

Steenn: It’s a big culture change. I know back home, last night, they just got about a foot and a half of snow. So at this time of the year, we’d be bundled up in jackets and stuff, going out in the snow. Here, we’re still walking around in shorts. That part’s pretty cool. But it’s definitely a big change to get used to all the people. In our hometown there’s 7,000 people, this campus alone has 50,000. It’s definitely a big culture change with being around all different — there are a lot of people all the time.

(But) I love it. It’s amazing.

Brinson: (The change) hasn’t been too hard. We went from -40 Celsius – what we call it – to coming here to plus 40 degrees Celsius, it’s pretty awesome. It took me a while to get used to, but I’m loving it.

ML: How has been the transition to playing under Coach Powers and how does he compare to coaches you’ve had in the past?

Brinson: I love it. He’s really similar to my coach last year. He’s a player’s coach, he’s always there to talk to if you need anything. He’s giving us the opportunity to play, so that’s the most important thing. We’re so grateful and blessed to have that opportunity here. So we’re definitely going to take advantage of that.

Steenn: (The coaches) have been great. Like Brin said, he’s a player’s coach. If you have a problem, you can go talk to him. He doesn’t really beat around the bush with anything. If he has a problem with something you’re doing, he’s going to let you know. If you do something good, he’ll let you know, too. But like Brinny said, he gives us a shot. All you need is one shot, just to prove yourself. He’s been graceful enough to give us that. And we’re just trying to take advantage of it.

ML: Steenn, you (were involved in) the award for most dedicated player in the AJHL?

Steenn: I was nominated for it – Tyler Busch actually beat me out for it.

ML: How do you feel like you got that nomination?

Steenn: Just hard work put in every day in practice and in games. Going out there, winning every shift, making sure that you’re not getting out-battled. I think it came down to me and Tyler Busch and I’m not sure how many votes he beat me out by, but he’s really deserving of that reward, too. Just hard work is basically what it comes down to.

ML: Speaking of which – Brinson, you played with Busch in the World Junior A Challenge last year, did you get to talk with him much or get to know him before coming here?

Brinson: We’re really good buddies. We played together for team Canada last World Junior A Challenge. We ended up winning that, that was incredible. We really bonded there. So when he committed to ASU right before that tournament, and I de-committed from Vermont and committed here, he was pretty fired up that we got to go to school together. That was awesome.

ML: I think that’s all I’ve got. Are you guys enjoying playing as brothers in the NCAA?

Steenn: Yeah, for sure. It’s been a lot of fun so far.

Brinson: I love it. I’m looking forward to the next few years at this school with him. It’s going to be awesome.

 

Sports Nutrition For Hockey Players

 

There is a new on-line service for hockey players, known as the Hockey Nutrition Network ( see http://www.hockeynutritionnetwork.org ).

Image result for hockey nutrition networkPearle Nerenberg has been a good friend over the years, and has supplied several articles for our newsletters.

A few years ago, sports dietitian and long time hockey player, Pearle Nerenberg teamed up with hockey super mom, Margot Lacoste to create the most useful guide ever written for hockey players.  It is known as “The best compression recovery boots For Hockey Performance” . In our opinion, the future of hockey performance is in sports nutrition, and this guide holds many of the answers to your questions.

Check out the Hockey Nutrition Network today.

 

 

Family Advisors: What you don’t know can hurt you

This is an article that originally appeared in a 2011 issue of our newsletter, and I am often asked about some of the points raised by attorney, David Bradley Olsen, in his excellent article. In many instances, players and families believe that in some of the points raised, the opposite is true, and in the end many players never get to fulfill their playing dreams.

 

By David Bradley Olsen

Teenaged hockey players on the NHL’s radar or NCAA Division I recruiting lists, and older players in college who are looking forward to professional careers need no introduction to the “family advisor.” You have seen and talked to them at Elite League games, USHL tryouts and prospect camps. Maybe an “advisor” has offered to give you free career advice and guidance, or to give you a deal at a training facility sponsored by an “advisor” group.

Generally, though not always, “family advisors” are former college or professional players. They talk your language because they know what it is like to be a recruited and sought after athlete. Some can tell you what it takes to balance the academic responsibilities of college with the demands of training and expectations for on-ice performance.

Others have lived through the grind of a minor pro or NHL season and can prepare you to survive. Many are well connected with professional coaches, scouts and general managers. But make no mistake about who you are dealing with – nearly all “advisors” are professional agents, and they are in the athlete representation business to make money by negotiating contracts and endorsement deals for athletes.

If you have entered into an agreement with an “advisor” who will represent you at no cost, with the idea that he will become your paid agent when you turn pro – which is usually the way these deals work – or if you have accepted any free services, transportation or merchandise from the “advisor,” you may already have jeopardized your NCAA eligibility. In other words, what you don’t know about your “family advisor” can hurt you – and the college team for which you hope to play or plan to return.

The rules covering permissible contact with sports agents are set out in the NCAA Operating Bylaws, Article 12, Amateurism, which can be found in the 2011-12 NCAA Division I Manual (effective August 1, 2011), and can be downloaded from the NCAA’s website at www.ncaa.org. The rules don’t specifically refer to “advisors” (which is why the term is used), but it doesn’t really matter to the NCAA what the “advisor” calls himself: If he has an agent business, and earns an income by representing and marketing athletes, he is a sports agent.

The Manual says that, if a student-athlete has ever agreed to be represented by an agent for the purpose of marketing his athletics ability or reputation in that sport, he or she “shall be ineligible” to play in an intercollegiate sport. What this means is that, if you have a deal with an “advisor,” written or not, and any part of that deal contemplates that the “advisor” will be your agent when it comes time to turn pro, the NCAA could rule you to be ineligible for college hockey before you ever step on campus.

Maybe you have an “advisor,” but you really don’t have any agreement or expectation that he will represent you in professional negotiations after you have played your last college game. Instead, he’s just providing you with some advice and expects nothing in return. Are you out from under the NCAA’s agent rule? Not really.

The whole point of having an “advisor” is that he can help you make good decisions as you advance from high school, to junior, to college, to professional hockey. But the rule says that if you, or any of your relatives or friends, accept any “transportation or other benefits” from “any person who represents any individual in the marketing of his or her athletics ability” – which virtually every “advisor” does – you will be ineligible for college hockey.

Put simply, the rule prohibits you, your family and your friends from accepting anything of value from any agent – unless you pay fair value for it – even if the agent says that he has no interest in representing you, and even if he does not represent hockey players.

The prohibition on accepting benefits from agents includes a whole host of things that cannot all be listed here. Among them are: agent-paid recruiting trips; free or reduced cost ice time; free or discounted access to training facilities; equipment; tickets; meals; cash; loans; advances; and free or discounted services.

Pay particular attention to that last one. If the “advisor” is a professional agent, and he is guiding you along your career path, and is not charging you for his time and expenses, you are receiving a prohibited free service. Or, if the deal is that the “advisor” won’t charge you now, but will charge you later when you are making a lot of money, you have entered into a prohibited agent representation agreement, and you may also be receiving a prohibited loan or advance.

The bottom line is that, if you feel that an advisor will be beneficial to your career, you need to approach the situation with extreme caution, and you and your parents need to study the rules carefully. It would also be a good idea for you to check with the NCAA Eligibility Center and/or your athletic director before entering into an agreement with an “advisor,” or talk to a lawyer.

If your “advisor” doesn’t want the NCAA or school athletic director to know about your deal, or doesn’t want you to get any legal advice, odds are the agreement you have been offered is not in compliance with NCAA eligibility rules, or may not be to your benefit. Remember that when an “advisor” negotiates an agreement with you, he is looking out for himself.

About the Author: David Bradley Olsen has been selected as one of Minnesota Lawyer’s “Attorneys of the Year” for 2013. With nearly 26 years of experience, David focuses on litigation in state and federal courts, including litigation of business and commercial matters. His practice includes the representation of athletes and entertainers.

The One Question That All Athletes Need To Ask Themselves

 

 

Everybody has big dreams and everyone wants to be successful in life.  If you’re an athlete, either interested or committed, when you put your head on the pillow at night, you dream about playing on the big stage in front huge crowds.  The bright lights, the fans cheering, the electric atmosphere trigger all of your senses and send a feeling throughout your body that fuels and shapes your imagination to one day play on the big stages in your sport.

Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?  If you don’t, you’re probably just playing sports for fun or exercise and there’s nothing wrong with that.  However, if you do want to your dreams turn into reality, you should ask yourself one question that legendary coach Herm Edwards (author of You Play to Win The Game and It’s the Will, Not the Skill) believes is the foundation to starting your path in athletics. The advice in the video below is intended for coaches, but pay attention to the point that Coach stresses about what athletes need to see in themselves and ask yourself one single question when it comes to your dedication:

 

ad-2017-chafindoutmore

 

 

Well…

 

Are You Interested Or Are You Committed?

 

In order to decide if you’re interested or committed, you need to look at each word’s definition and decide which category you fall into.

Interest is simply defined by Merriam-Webster as “a feeling of wanting to learn more about something or to be involved in something”, while their simple definition of Commitment is “the attitude of someone who works very hard to do or support something”.

Interest allows “want-letes” while commitment breeds “work-letes”.  The difference between the two is pretty simple:  You either dream about being successful, or you put your dreams aside and start to work towards being successful.

Interest and commitment are two separate things.  You can be interested in something, but that doesn’t mean that you are committed to it. Interest sparks dreams, emotions, and feelings towards wanting to be the best you can be while commitment shows action and a dedication towards persevering through adversity.

Commitment isn’t a part time job either.  It’s not a switch that you can turn on and off, faking it by only turning on your work mode when you feel like it.  Commitment is having a vision & goals of where you want to go, and making the permanent decision in working to achieve those goals.  Commitment means that you can’t turn back and it’s a hard decision to make.  However, when you make your decision to be committed and work to become the best athlete you want to be, you experience the discipline, dedication, and self-satisfaction in knowing that you are doing everything that you can to become your best.  Thankfully, the choice you make to work hard and have a great attitude in your work are the only things that you can control in life.

athletes interested or committed
Commitment is staying dedicated to your regimen despite receiving social distractions

If you’re an athlete and you don’t know where to start with being committed, you’re not alone.  However, you can’t use that as an excuse to not be committed.  If you do, you have just pushed yourself back into the “interested zone”.  It’s the “being committed sounds great and looks like something I want to experience, but I don’t have the right X/Y/Z so I don’t have the opportunity to be committed”.  If you think that way, you’re wrong. That’s a bunch of B.S. and you’re making excuses for not working towards your goals.

Between YouTube & Amazon, you have enough resources to become a world class athlete and you don’t have to spend $500 per month to try and achieve your dreams.  If you think I’m wrong, then read up on how YouTube made Julius Yego an Olympic medalist.  This Olympiac athlete had nothing when he started.  He was completely self taught and didn’t use the lack of anything as an excuse to not achieve his goals.

To decide if you want to be committed, you have to at first understand what it means to be committed. I’ve broken commitment down into four principles that I believe are what commitment is all about:

 

It’s About What You Want & Not About What Those Around You Want

Commitment is about what YOU want and not about what mom, dad, coach, or your mentor wants – and you shouldn’t feel guilty in deciding to be committed for yourself.  Yes, all of the people in your life can serve as motivation, and you should consider yourself lucky if you feel a deep sense of gratitude for those who have played a big part in your life.  However – the decision to be dedicated to your craft needs to come from within and not from an outside influence.  That’s because people and athletes who are successful in life have a deep passion and love for what they do.  If you’re playing because of an outside factor that doesn’t fuel your passion, then you’re setting yourself up for failure.  When the going gets tough, your passion needs to be what carries you through adversity and fuel your desire to overcome your obstacles.

 

It’s About Sacrifice & Dedication

Commitment is 100% about discipline, sacrifice, and dedication.  You have to live with all three of those traits continuously to have true commitment to what you’re trying to achieve.  There will be experiences that will come up that seem enticing and you may miss out on.  Social events, video games, watching television, going on social media – they all will have to take a back seat to your dedication towards being successful.  Your dedication to your deliberate practice, self-improvement athletically & mentally, and desire to be a better version of yourself than yesterday is where your focus needs to be.

You will have situations where you will have to decide between your sport and your social life.  Those who are committed to their sport will always choose the opportunity to get better over the latter.  Now, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a social life – it’s healthy to get a mental break away from your sport and experience the countless amazing things of life outside of it.  Your dedication just cannot slip because of your social life.  If it does, then you’re back into the “interested zone”.  Cut and Dry.

 

It’s About Not Expecting A Desired Outcome

The entire purpose of playing sports is to enjoy the journey and realize that everyone has a different path. You cannot expect an outcome of success, you have to work for it.  Just because you show up to practice, “work hard”, “listen to coach”, and “are a good teammate” doesn’t mean anything when it comes to putting in the work to develop and build a superior athletic ability.  Too many athletes today believe that if they are the best player on their team, then that means that they should be rewarded with success. Success comes when you are least prepared for it and you least expect it.  It’s the by-product of developing phenomenal skills through a relentless work ethic so that when your time comes to prove yourself, you operate at the highest level within your ability to do so.

So, don’t expect success to happen to you because you put the work in, but believe that success will come if you deliberately push yourself everyday to the best of your ability.  It may not come tomorrow, a week from now, or ever – depending on what your definition of success is.  However, what will happen is that you will work closer and closer to your goals and push the envelope on your potential every day.

The only thing that you’re entitled to in this life is the opportunity to become the best version of yourself on a daily basis.  You’re not entitled to playing time, recognition, or a college scholarship – those things go to the ones that have a dedication to hard work with a burning desire to want to be the best at everything they do.

 

It’s About Enjoying The Process

Remember that the reason why you play is to enjoy the process.  If you’re after a shiny plastic trophy or name recognition for a highlight performance, you’re playing the game for the wrong reason. Championships and accolades have self-worth because they make you appreciate how hard you worked to achieve them.  Enjoy the work that is required in trying to achieve greatness.  Will it suck at times? You bet.  Is it going to be hard to be great?  Yep, you can guarantee that it will be. But, its not about you.  Success doesn’t cooperate with excuses. Being successful is completely about what you’re willing to do to achieve it. When you make the commitment to work on yourself to become better, always remember that there cannot be an absence of humble humility.

No matter how good you think you are, there is always someone out there better than you.  What are you going to do to become better than them?  Millions of dedicated and relentless athletes have played the game before you to make it what it is today – don’t expect to be the one player that defines the game.  Stay humble, work hard, and expect nothing in return.  That is what will make any success that you achieve worth while when you experience it.

 

A Great Christmas Idea For The Young Hockey Player

Over the past few years, we have had reasons to have conversations with Isabelle Hampstone, regarding the game of hockey and some of our players, with whom we work.

Isabelle has recently written a book, called “Hockey Confidence: Train Your Brain to Win In Hockey and In Life”

isabellebookThis book by experienced NHL mental performance specialist Isabelle Hamptonstone contains a collection of powerful techniques and tips to help hockey players overcome lack of confidence.

Clear instructions and illustrative case studies show how training the brain to develop and sustain hockey confidence can upgrade results and help players make smarter, quicker decisions under pressure. Hamptonstone shares step-by-step guidelines gleaned from her years of research working with the giants in the game of hockey. Some of the greatest hockey players in the world have used these very same steps to change their game and their lives. Added to this base of personal knowledge, the book references inspiring moments of mental performance by Wayne Gretzky, Doug Lidster, Scott Niedermayer, Shane Doan, Darryl Sydor, Jarome Iginla, and Mark Recchi.

This pragmatic and positive book is a game-changing guide and valuable resource for anyone interested in high-performance hockey, as well as a valuable tool for self-development.

Mark Recchi, three-time Stanley Cup champion says. “This book is a powerful tool for developing your self-belief and confidence. It will help many NHL hockey players be better teammates and better players. And it will help you deal with the ups and downs of hockey, and develop a steady state of mind so that you can play more consistently. Along with the drive, commitment and passion, this adds up to hockey confidence.”

Order today

 

NCAA – Family Advisor vs. Agent

 

There is still a lot of confusion when it comes to the terms Family Advisor and Agent. Why the different names when they are essentially providing the same type of services? The term Family Advisor is basically used to distinguish the services offered. Also, the term is not referred to in the NCAA Operating Bylaws (only Agent). However, regardless of the term if a person or organization engages in activities earning money by representing and marketing athletes, they are considered sports agents.

Generally a Family Advisor advises a player for a fee whereas the agent represents a player in contract negotiations and is compensated once the student-athlete signs a contract with a professional team. In an nutshell the Family Advisor works on a fee base with no future interest in the student-athlete’s marketability while the Agent provides free advise with the understanding of being involved in the Student-Athlete’s future marketability.

The most important point is that the agency or the person, regardless of the term being used, is in compliance with the NCAA rules (2014-2015 NCAA Division I Manual 12.3 Use of Agents):

Not Allowed:

– A Student-Athlete to be represented by an agent for the purpose of marketing his or her athletic ability or reputation in that sport.

– Entering into a verbal or written agreement with an agent for representation in future professional sport negotiations that are to take place after the individual has completed his or her eligibility in that sport.

– A Student-Athlete (or his or her relatives or friends) accepting transportation or other benefits from any person who represents any individual in the marketing of his or her athletic ability.

Allowed:

– Career Counseling and Internship/Job Placement Service

– Legal Counsel

– Athletic Scholarship Agent that represents a prospective student-athlete for compensation in placing the prospective student-athlete in a collegiate institution.

I met quite a few people who rely on, what I call, Agents free advise without realizing that they are potentially compromising their son’s or daughter’s NCAA eligibility. Be careful when selecting an Advisor that they adhere to the NCAA rules.

Do I need an Advisor? Not everybody does. An advisor can be a valuable asset to players and parents, providing guidance in selecting the right track and getting exposure to the NCAA schools. This is particularly true for European players and parents who are less familiar with the NCAA and its rules and regulations.

 

Student-Athletes Must Know NCAA Rules for Agents, Advisors

 

by Dan Fitzgerald

I recently came across an excellent article by David Bradley Olsen, an attorney in Minnesota, concerning NCAA rules governing “family advisors.”  The article, entitled Family advisors: What you don’t know can hurt you, is published on Let’s Play Hockey and details the NCAA’s rules prohibiting student-athletes from using agents and advisors.  Hockey players and their parents would be well-served by reviewing this article.  [Editors’ Note: We have attached a copy of it in this newsletter]

NCAA Rules Concerning Agents

All student-athletes and their parents who encounter agents and advisors must be aware of the applicable NCAA rules.  Consider that NCAA rules prohibit:

– An agreement, written or oral, with an agent for future representation.

– Accepting transportation or other benefits from any person who represents any other person in the marketing of his or her athletic ability.

– Accepting transportation or other benefits from an agent who has indicated that he or she has no interest in representing the student-athlete and does not represent athletes in the student-athlete’s particular sport.

Violating these rules can render a student-athlete ineligible for collegiate athletics.

The Bottom Line

Student-athletes and their parents need to be well-informed of the applicable NCAA rules when dealing with any advisor, as that advisor could be considered an agent by the NCAA.  And dealing with an agent could cause a student to lose his or her eligibility to play collegiate athletics.