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