Rookie Duties: Where’s the Coffee?
Well despite the fact that this past week was every bit as hectic as the previous one, things certainly seemed to be heading in the right direction. While we had to push back Brian’s official signing with our firm (which should take place later today), I’ve been spending almost every second I’m awake either on the phone with teams or going through hours of game film. When a friend who knows about my crazy schedule asked me how much I actually work, I had to stop for a second and think about it. Although I couldn’t determine a specific figure, I came to the conclusion that it’s probably somewhere around the vicinity of 75-80 hours per week. I still find at least 45 minutes a day to get into the gym, but as far as personal time goes, that’s about it. The great thing, though, is that to be honest, I never even realized how much time I was putting in until I actually thought about it. You hear people say that when you love what you do, it never really feels like work. I can say without question that I now know more than ever that this is what I want to do for the rest of my professional life.
My week started off Monday morning with more calls to OHL and NHL clubs. Within only a few hours of getting to my office, I was already starting to hear back from the majority of teams I had contacted last Friday. Overall, things were sounding very promising – every scout and front office official I spoke with was extremely interested in hearing about Brian and was sure to ask me to keep them updated on his situation. One particular discussion that stood out more than others was when I called the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL. I knew that former NHLer and four-time Stanley Cup winner Jeff Beukeboom was their Assistant Coach, but when he answered the phone in their office, he didn’t immediately identify himself. After about a ten-minute conversation, he gave me his direct phone line and email. “My email address is ___beukeboom – spelled b-e-u…” That’s where I stopped him. “Jeff…you played in the show long enough for me to know how to spell your name.” After a quick laugh, he thanked me for following his career and that was that. Even though this isn’t the first time in my work that I’ve crossed paths with a player I grew up idolizing, it’s still pretty cool when you realize that you’re dealing with them on the same level. On top of that, when the player turns out to be a good guy like Jeff seemed to be, it always makes me respect them that much more.
That afternoon I also made a call to Brian’s coach. I needed to get some of Brian’s game film from this season so I could start working on his highlight DVD, but I also wanted to sit down and discuss both Brian’s and Joey’s futures in the sport. I swung over to the rink to catch the back end of their practice and afterwards I met up with their coaching staff down in the team offices. We sat down for about thirty minutes while the players had some off-ice training and I asked them where they thought Brian and Joey would best continue to develop their games next season. I wasn’t really surprised to hear that they believed staying with them was the best place for Brian – after all, he is possibly the most talented player in the league. I basically explained that I truly value their opinions, but that at this point, my job is just to get Brian as much exposure as possible. If he gets drafted by a CHL team this June that wouldn’t be a good fit, he’ll still have the option of returning to his current club for another season. I told the coaches that when the time comes for Brian to make the decision, I’d appreciate them sitting down with Brian and I to make sure that Brian makes the right choice for himself. Information is always the key to making good decisions, and I certainly appreciate the experience that the team’s coaches bring to the table.
As far as Joey’s career path goes, the general consensus was that he should try and land with a team in the North American Hockey League. In their opinion, getting a starting job might be tough, but Joey’s a smart kid that works very hard. I’m confident that with a good off-season, we’ll be able to get him playing someplace where he feels comfortable and can succeed.
Monday evening, while I was going through some of the game film that Brian’s coach had given me that afternoon, I received a very flattering email from a reader named Colin (and no it’s not the Colin from Ontario). Besides just letting me know that he’s really enjoyed following my career over the past few months, he wanted to know if I would be willing to speak to the Sports Business Association at his college. While I continue to get a number of great emails from fans each week, I still don’t know if I have a real grasp on how helpful or inspiring this column has been. When I hear that high school classrooms in New York read my entries weekly as part of their curriculum or I receive invites to speak at universities, though, it certainly drives me to continue my work contributing to SAB. While we haven’t set a date for me to make a trip out, I let Colin know that I’d be happy to come and speak sometime soon.
After about five hours of sleep the night before (I’m getting freakishly good at functioning efficiently despite constant sleep deprivation), Wednesday started early with a morning Skype conference over at Nicole’s. Brian’s mother wanted to chat with Brian, and since I’d never met her before, this would be a good opportunity for her to get to know me. We spoke for about twenty minutes and overall it went very well. Although she had heard nothing but good things about me from some mutual friends, I think just getting to see my face and how I carry myself helped cure any anxiety she may have had left regarding me representing her son.
After we finished our talk, I drove out to meet a college hockey buddy for lunch – as my life insurance agent, he wanted to drop off my recently-purchased policy. It’s funny how the minute you graduate college, suddenly your best friends see you as an easy target for a potential client. Regardless, adding a professional relationship to an existing friendship can create a convenient excuse to hang out. Plus, with the U.S. facing off against Switzerland at 2pm CST, I’d have just enough time to catch the first period with him before heading up to the rink for another practice and to get some more game film of Brian. After lunch and a brief stop at the rink, it was back to Nicole’s house for dinner and the highly-anticipated Russia/Canada game that night. Despite the drubbing that the Russians took, it was fun being able to spend some more quality time with the boys and Nicole outside of an ice rink.
By the time I got home that night, I was completely drained. Some days, 5-Hour Energy shots and insane amounts of coffee are the only things that keep me from passing out, and that day was no exception. But I still had some film to get through, so I downed one more cup of joe and it was back to watching hockey.
As the week progressed, I continued to hear back from more and more teams wanting to get some information about Brian. The great part was that even NHL clubs were now getting a hold of me and letting me know that he’s on their radar. At this point, it seems as though two or three teams are seriously considering taking him this June in the Draft, and I’m going to continue to plug away and generate more interest throughout the League.
Friday night for me was definitely a change of scenery, but it was a great one. Some of the guys from my company that work in the Football Division were going to be in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine. Since they work out of California and Texas, I don’t get to see them very often, so they told me I should make the drive down. We spent Friday afternoon at the Hyatt in downtown Indianapolis meeting with some NFL scouts, other agents, and some reps from major sporting goods companies. To tell you the truth, it was the first time in my professional life that I actually felt like I was living Jerry Maguire.
That evening we went out to dinner with a few other guys in the industry and that’s when I got the surprise of the night. After our waitress brought us the drinks we had ordered, the founder of our company raised his glass and proposed a toast. “I just want to make a toast to Scott, who’s been doing a great job with our Hockey Division – so much so that we’ve decided to bump him up to Senior Director of Hockey.” Now I knew that the guys I worked with were pleased with what I was doing, but I honestly didn’t expect them to promote me this early in my career. I’m truly blessed, not only because I’m able to do what I love, but also because I get to work with some really great guys that I already consider close friends. We spent the night celebrating and had an absolute blast – the week couldn’t have ended any better.
As I promised I would in a past entry, I want to take a second to respond to a comment that was left for me last week. A reader named Cameron asked me if I thought people skills or a solid understanding of the sport you work in is more important in finding success as a sports agent. In my opinion, you can’t really value one over the other. As I told Cameron, if you don’t have the ability to approach and connect with others, it’d be hard to effectively market your clients. At the same time, though, if you don’t have a deep understanding of the sport you’re working in, some clubs might not take you seriously after they realize it. One thing I’d like to point out, however, is that just because you might be anxious speaking with coaches, players, and parents, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have what it takes. When I first started scouting at tournaments, I was hesitant to approach anyone. You just have to convince yourself that if you don’t try, there’s no way you’ll ever make it anywhere. After a while, you’ll begin to grow comfortable with the different situations and before you know it, you’ll embrace the opportunity to meet and speak with others that share your passion.
Well, believe it or not, next week will mark the 26th week of “Rookie Duties.” The past six months have been absolutely incredible – I’ve made some enormous strides forward and I’ve hit some bumps in the road in both my personal and professional lives. To commemorate hitting the halfway point through my first year authoring this column, next week I’ll be providing you all with a little recap of some of those highs and lows as well as giving you some insight as to where I see the next six months taking me. Until then, keep the comments and emails coming and have a terrific week. And with that…it’s time to hit the showers.