Hockey Sports Agents

Rookie Duties: Sweet Home Chicago

Finally, a weekend where I didn’t have to leave town. For the past three weeks, I’ve felt as though all I’ve been doing is putting miles on my car. Don’t get me wrong – I love to travel and experience life in different places. But every once in a while I just need a break.

For the most part, this past week was spent in my office putting together some promotional materials for both Russian and North American players. While we currently don’t really need to be sending out things like that, I usually like to start out by just getting something on paper and then building onto it as time progresses. Plus, you never know when a coach or scout might ask about a kid so it’s good to always be prepared and have them on hand.

Also last week, one of our Russian clients celebrated his birthday so I had to make sure to give him a call. Unfortunately, the 9-hour time difference between Chicago and Moscow and his busy schedule can, at times, make communication a little difficult – usually, I have a window from about 1:15pm – 1:45pm CST to get my call in. This particular player’s parents don’t speak any English and my Russian skills are still a little shaky, so if my boy isn’t home, I tend to just ask his parents how they’re doing and when a good time to call back would be. This past week, my third try was the charm.

Besides just talking with my comrade about how his season’s going so far, we also had a discussion regarding his future. Currently, he’s in the last year of his contract and will be a free agent come April 1. That means he’ll be facing a big decision – continue to play in his home town of Moscow or make the jump over the pond to a North American club. Step one is getting him a little more exposure from teams over here so that we have some options to consider. Luckily, it sounds as if he’ll be able to get his hands on some of his game film from this season, which would make my job that much easier. Once we get a hold of that, I’ll start contacting some teams to gauge where the interest level is at. If there’s a situation that seems like it could work, the next move will be getting them his credentials.

Now for anyone that frequently makes international phone calls, you probably know that dealing with calling cards can be a pain – most of the time I end up losing them and dialing all those numbers can be irritating. One nice thing I stumbled upon a few months ago, though, is called “Pingo.” The great thing about this product is that they offer a free application for use with Blackberry smart phones. Once you get it all set up, you just dial any international number like you would a domestic one. The application automatically starts up after you place the call and it logs the call to your calling card account. It’s not exactly a life-changing invention but it’s definitely made my life a bit easier. If any of you decide this is something that you’d like to start taking advantage of, let me know -Pingo provides credits for referrals if you provide an email address when signing up.

Things with my law practice have been starting to pick up as well and it couldn’t be happening at a better time. The bills continue to find their way to my mailbox at home and without this extra income, I’d be in some serious trouble. Last week I was able to help out a couple looking to get the husband permanent resident status in the States and tomorrow morning I’ve got another client coming in who’s trying to get her mother-in-law over here. So far all the people I’ve come across have been a pleasure to work with. They’ve all been extremely courteous and open in our conversations, which obviously makes me truly want to do everything I can to help out. I understand that not all my clients are going to be this way, but it’s at least an encouraging sign.

As far as scouting goes, the past few days have been quiet ones. In the Midget Major division, the Chicago and Detroit teams are participating in a showcase about 15 miles west of my office. While it’s not a big tournament like the Marlies Classic or Silver Stick, five of the top-six ranked U.S. teams according to are playing in it, so there’s a lot of talent around. Unfortunately, with my work schedule I haven’t been able make it to any of the games so far, but I’m hoping to catch one or two today depending on how long my meeting with my immigration client takes.

Before I leave you, I want to take a second to address something I’ve been considering that might improve the value of this column to you. Over the past couple weeks I’ve been thinking that the best way for you to personally take something away each week would be to make this a truly interactive experience. Obviously with our comments section at the end of each article, readers can give feedback to our authors, which can be a huge asset. I want to encourage you to all take advantage of this opportunity to get answers to some questions you may have about what I do every day. Starting this week, if you post a question for me, I’ll be sure to address it in my following entry. I’ve received some emails from readers and I’m pretty sure I’ve gotten back to anyone that’s contacted me, but many of the questions I receive are common to a large number of people. Like I’ve said before, while I certainly get a lot out of writing this column, my primary motivation behind this is to give you the guidance that I really didn’t feel I had when I first started out. Hopefully by getting right to your specific questions I’ll be doing that.

With that being said, I hope you’ve all enjoyed following me on my journey up to this point. Have a terrific week and until next Monday…it’s time to hit the showers.