Patrick Kane : $10,500,00 per year. Jonathan Toews : $10,500,000 per year. P.K. Subban : $9,000,000 per year. In the past 30 years, professional ice hockey has become a multi-billion-dollars industry. For hockey players, the idea of earning millions of dollars per year is enticing. With the economic growth of the hockey industry, the number of players’ agents has multiplied consequently.
There is no age limit at which a players’ agent can approach a player. Therefore, if you walked into an arena recently, you may have noticed the presence of numerous agents looking for players to represent. A player representative normally negotiates the player’s contract with the club’s direction and represents him on other issues with this team. An agent can however do more for the athlete such: representation for endorsement contracts, giving legal advice, giving financial advice, help the player find a try-out.
As I coach many elite level players, I often get questions about players’ agents. Hiring an agent seems to be the perfect solution to achieve THE ULTIMATE DREAM. However, before entering a contract with an agent, the player has to consider various factors.
The most important factor (and the one I will be explaining) is the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Regulations. The NCAA is an amateur organization, and wants to maintain this status. It is primordial, before an athlete signs any agreement with a players’ representative, to decide whether playing College Hockey is an option in their career.
The general rule found in the NCAA Manual (NCAA Constitution, Operating Bylaws, Administrative Bylaws) states that “[a]n 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” (Bylaw 12.3.1). However, “[s]ecuring advice from a lawyer concerning a proposed professional sports contract shall not be considered contracting for representation by an agent under this rule, unless the lawyer also represents the individual in negotiations for such a contract” (Bylaw 12.3.2).
In other words, a player can get advice from a lawyer on any type of contract. This lawyer cannot, however, be present during any discussions of a proposed contract offer with a professional organization or have any direct contact with this organization. If so, he will be considered acting as an agent, as states Bylaw 188.8.131.52.
It is also important to understand that these rules applies at all times, which means that even if the player is not registered in a college, his eligibility will be compromised if he agreed in any way to be represented by an agent.
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