By David MacDonald
It is the little things that often make the biggest difference.
There are two identical hockey players who I know.
Both are the same age…, both are roughly the same height and weight….. both possess the same hockey skills and see the ice well…., and have the same hockey IQ…… and receive the same marks in school.
If anything…., player “A” has a slight athletic advantage over Player “B” in height and weight and strength…..
Player “B” has received a quarter million dollar scholarship offer from an NCAA Division 1 hockey program….., and although Player “A” states that he would like to play NCAA hockey, he likely never will…..
And the worst part of it all, is that he doesn’t even realize it….. and likely never will know why.
Unfortunately, Player “A” is using the services of a person who he believes will look out for his best interest, when in fact that person has no interest in protecting the young player’s best interest, and is only interested in his own possible fortunes.
Player “A” is using the services of an Advisor who he has agreed to compensate in full, or in part, through future earnings. the agreement is that he will pay 1% of all future professional hockey earnings to that individual, which will be in top of the amount that the player will pay to a proper certified agent in the future.
Although the older adult (slime bucket) has advised the player that he will not charge him anything for his services, and the fact that his family will only need to pay 1% should the player ever sign a future professional contract, the cost of using that individual has already cost that young player and his family over $250,000 USD, by making him ineligible to ever play NCAA hockey, and most likely that player will never graduate with a university degree.
I have properly referred to this individual as a slime bucket, because in the past month, I have spoken to over 50 cprep school and ollege coaches who have assured me that they have never communicated with this individual, and do not know who he is. Not one school who that student is qualified to attend knows of him through that individual.
There are people who operate in the shadows of the hockey world, who will convince young players and their families that they can introduce players to opportunities to play at the next level(s), without the necessity of paying for his services.
For these individuals, it is a numbers game…. and they can make a pretty good living if they have enough undocumented players within their stables.
These unscrupulous individuals convince families that payment will only be necessary if the player receives a future professional contract. Sometimes, in an attempt to get around the NCAA rules, they charge a small amount in advance, and then reach an agreement for a commission based n future earnings, as a professional player.
Because these individuals know that entering such an agreement is illegal under the NCAA rules, they will convince the player and the family that no one needs to know because there will be no written agreement.
“You should never be afraid of putting something in writing…… good paper makes good friends”.
If an advisor is stating that you can avoid detection of rule violations, then you are getting very bad advice.
Here’s the kicker…… the individual will tell you that no one ever needs to know that you are improperly using the services of an agent and/or illegal family advisor, but yet he is stating that he is going to talk to those within the hockey community about your hockey skills. He is going to advise you to lie about his involvement on the NCAA Clearinghouse application, but assure you that he is going to talk to the very people, on your behalf, who will have access to those files.
When dealing with individuals who make their living through commissions, based on future earnings, can you truly believe that they will objectively explore college opportunities on your behalf, when college hockey players do not traditionally begin to earn a living playing professional hockey until they are 24-25 years of age. Of course other options, that do not include an education, could possibly provide an income earlier for that individual and reduce the risk of injury over many years of having to wait for a commission cheque, which may not be in the best interest of the player.
In the case of the young student-athlete that I earlier mentioned, who has been assured that no one will ever need to know that he is using the services of an unpaid family advisor / agent….., everyone knows…..
His current teammates and friends know. There is not a player in the whole world who will not tell his friends and teammates that he has a relationship with the “ex-NHLer” ….., or the parent of an professional hockey player….. or a professional agent…….. EVERYONE WILL KNOW……
Immature “wanna be agents” will be sending social media messages out about the players that they are in such relationships with, who are trying to leverage their association with some young athletes to increase their profile with others. These social media accounts are monitored by NCAA compliance officials.
In this game of hockey, too many decisions are made on “ego” and “hype”.
Cooler minds and proper strategy will always prevail.
Whether today, or 8 years from now (possibly in the middle of an NCAA National Championship Tournamnet) someone will remember….. and someone will tell.
I have already seen this 15 year old player’s name disappear off the Player Watch List within some college program offices…., and he has no idea that it is happening…….
It truly is the little things that will make or break an athletic career…..
Is it too late?
Is there anything that can be done to fix this situation for this young man?
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