If you clicked on this article, there's a strong likelihood that you're looking for potential hockey agencies to work with.
Throughout this short article, we'll go through some important aspects and questions you should be asking. These will help you make the very best decision for your hockey career.
Hockey agencies come in all shapes and sizes...
Some are larger operations with a few dozen or so people (ranging from agents and lawyers to secretaries and scouts). Others act more as as individual agent(s) on their own or with a very small team. We focus specifically on placing players looking to play in Europe and lie somewhere in the middle, with a sound number of partners spread across the European Union & N America.
There's definitely no one size fits all approach when it comes to deciding which hockey agency or agent to work with....
It's best to start by asking a few important questions...
Do hockey players need agents?
Your answer to this question will be based heavily on your playing experience...
If your end goal is to play in the National Hockey League or you're close up there in the highest ranks, we strongly advise that you work with an NHLPA certified agent.
For many players reading this blog, you probably don't fall in that bucket though.
You may have just graduated from NCAA/USports, finished up your junior career, or are in a similar situation to this. You now want to know the best potential approach that will help you continue in your hockey career.
Unless you're well connected with pro clubs, whether in the minors or pro overseas in Europe, you're likely better off working with the help of an agency.
We touched on how to find a hockey agent more in-depth in another post, but we'll cover the two main reasons why working with the help of an agent can be beneficial for you.
The first is access and the second is professional expertise.
A quality agency can open up doors and grant you access to be able to reach a much wider set of professional clubs. Without this access, you may not have the ability to even introduce yourself to prospective organizations.
It's hard for a team to have interest in you....unless they know you exist.
If an agent (or agency) has years of experience helping players like you that have already gone through a situation similar to yours, they will know the ins/outs of the process.
They'll know what leagues could be good fits for you...and what leagues may be poor fits.
They'll know which types of clubs may have interest in you....and which clubs are out of your reach (or below your ability) based on their expertise.
If you have pro teams knocking on your door calling, by all means it might make sense to go it alone. But more times than not, players are at a steep disadvantage by not working with someone who's well connected in the pro hockey leagues they want to play in.
So what makes a good hockey agency?
Each agency may have a bit different answer here, but what makes a good agency to us is threefold.
1) Hockey Players Interest Comes First
First is that the athletes interest and well-being comes before all else. We've mentioned this before, but this takes priority over any deal, offer, incentive every day of the week.
We've seen a few situations in the past where another hockey agent unfortunately placed their own needs above a players well being.
A big no-no...
An example of this would be an agent helping a player land quickly with an organization they know has not treated import players well in the past, but they didn't inform the current player on this.
We believe that's highly unethical. It's one thing not to know, but another to not make the player privy on that.
If a hockey organization ever treats one of our players (or another agencies players) poorly ever, we take note of that for future reference.
Yes, of course clubs can lose sponsorship deals or have financial problems mid season from time to time over the years, but that's never a reason to treat a player poorly.
By keeping a players interest as the main priority, it helps solidify a good relationship between player and the agency.
2) Hockey Resources
After you know that an agent has your best interest in mind, it's important to work with one who has quality hockey resources.
What do I mean by this?
If you're looking to play in a certain geographic region or leagues, it helps tremendously to work with someone who has resources and connections in those particular leagues.
They'll know most intricacies of each league, country, and best practices. That knowledge will be invaluable...
3) Agency Communication
How they communicate with you is a helpful signal to get a sense of when you are deciding who to work with.
Are they professional?
Are they helpful in their email correspondence with you?
If they're not, it's probably not an ideal fit.
How much does working with a hockey agency even cost?
Fees will range greatly dependent on what level you're playing at...
In the higher leagues in Europe (say SHL, Liiga, DEL, etc), players will typically pay much more since agents take a percentage of a bigger contract.
For most players looking to continue hockey in Europe, you're probably not aiming to make high five to six-figure salaries per season playing overseas though...
What you'll pay an agent will range anywhere from hundreds to a few thousand bucks at the very high end. Again, this number will be highly correlated to the league/club you're playing for.
How do I best choose a hockey agent?
Depending on where you're looking to play, reach out to first see if the agency is interested in working with you.
Make it easy for them...
You can do this by providing core information regarding your play such as:
- link to your stats
- direct link(s) to any game or training highlights you have available (note: never attach movie files in email since it's unlikely they'll get clicked on for security reasons)
- concise info on your strengths as a player
Based on you sharing this information with them upfront, they can best be able to inform you on if they can or cannot help you.
In closing, aim to work with a hockey agency where the players interest comes first, they have resources in the places you want to play, and they communicate well with you.
We hope that you were able to gain a few takeaways from reading this article.
If you're interested in playing pro in Europe and have the skill set and motivation, don't hesitate to send us a message here.