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Minnesota Wild Ban Agent from Excel Center

Guest contribution from Ryan Ballard, President of the Sports and Entertainment Law Society at Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

Minnesota Wild LogoNHL player agents haven’t had it easy this year.  First, David Frost was banned from Phoenix.  More recently, NHL agent Tobin Wright was banned from the Excel Energy Center– the home of the Minnesota Wild.  There are a couple of extrinsic facts at play here.  Wright represents former Wild defenseman Willie Mitchell.  Mitchell is in salary arbitration with the Wild right now and Wright refuses to testify.  Some say the Wild imposed the ban in retaliation of Wright refusing to testify because Wright has information favorable to the Wild, but not so favorable to his client.  The Wild issued a statement that the ban was imposed because they caught Wright wandering around areas he wasn’t supposed to be.  While he was in those restricted areas, and here’s the killer, the Wild say he was trying persuade players to leave their agent and jump on board with Wright.  Wright is new to the agent business.  Luckily, his boss has his back.

If the Wild are right about the situation with Willie Mitchell, it seems like Wright is serving his client right by refusing to testify.  But if the Wild are right about Wright recruiting players away from their clients while in restricted areas at the Excel Center, Wright might have an uphill battle gaining respect with more players.

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

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