Hockey Sports Agents

Rookie Duties: Back in the Driver’s Seat

When you work as an agent, most people have a fairly basic understanding of some of things you do on a day-to-day basis. Recruiting and promoting clients, negotiating deals – all those things that make the headlines. But in reality, those are only a few of the many responsibilities an agent has. One obstacle I’ve been dealing with the past few months is Kuchin’s availability to play Junior hockey in North America again this Fall. In case you don’t remember the specifics of Andrey’s situation, or if I neglected to go into details, here’s a little taste of what I’ve been dealing with.

A few years ago while playing in Russia, Andrey signed a contract to play with Chekhov Vityaz – one of the KHL clubs. Before the 2009-10 season, Kuch still had a year remaining on his deal. Because of this, the only way he’d be able to skate in the USHL or any other North American Junior League would be if he got a transfer card signed by Vityaz releasing him for the year. Obviously he got the transfer card signed for last season, but valid years of KHL agreements remain intact following the expiration of a one-year release. Basically that leaves me trying to figure out whether Vityaz will sign another transfer card for the upcoming season, and if so, which teams/leagues they would allow him to play for/in.

From Vityaz’s standpoint, they really don’t have anything to lose by releasing him for another season. So far, they’ve noticed a huge improvement in his game, and if they allow him to develop another year on a North American club’s dime, they’ll still have his rights for the 2011-12 season. That’s what I’m trying to sell to them now, but establishing a line of communication hasn’t been all that easy. But then again, if this job was easy, everybody would do it.

For a while I had been trying to handle things quietly through some friends with connections to Vityaz, with the hopes that old friendships would facilitate a smooth transaction. Before we started talking specifics, I wanted to get an idea of what Vityaz had in mind. But unfortunately going through back channels has taken too much time, and with draft season now underway, we need answers fast, and that means it’s time for me to grab the wheel.

If you follow my updates via the Rookie Duties Facebook Fan Page, you already know that last week I placed a call to former NHL star and current Vityaz General Manager, Alexei Zhamnov. Despite calling his cell phone at 10:00am local time in Moscow, I got his voicemail and was forced to leave a message. Andrey had told Alex that I was his agent, so he shouldn’t have been surprised to see that I called, but basically I said that I’d like to discuss Andrey with him and asked if he could give me a call back when he got a chance. While Alex speaks English, I made sure to leave my message in Russian. I’m sure there was a grammatical error or two in there, but based off my past experience, most Russian people truly appreciate the effort to speak in their native tongue. I still haven’t heard anything back from Alex, and if he hasn’t called by the end of the day tomorrow, I’m going to plan on trying him again Tuesday. As I said, we need answers.

But Andrey’s situation isn’t the only work I have on my plate. It looks like this Tuesday I’ve got my sit down with the KHL player I mentioned last week.  It’s time to start discussing where he sees himself playing next season so I’ll know where to start plugging away.

On top of that, the American Junior teams are beginning their initial camps in the coming weeks, and Teddy’s looking for a good fit for the upcoming season. Since he’s not an official client of mine, there isn’t as much hands-on work required, but he’s a really good friend and I’m going to do everything I can to help guide him the right direction. And if all that isn’t enough, I’ve got meetings set up with two immigration clients. Sure, life is pretty hectic right now, but I’d much rather be over-working than under-working…especially since I control my own paycheck.

As usual, I’ll be sure to keep you all posted with updates via the Rookie Duties Fan Page and my Twitter account. I haven’t been getting many questions or suggestions lately, so I’ll assume what I’ve been providing you with has continued to be helpful and on point, but if you have anything you’d like to ask or let me know, please don’t hesitate to post on either the SAB site directly or the Facebook page. For all you finishing up finals, best of luck to you and congrats to anyone graduating. I hope you all have a great, productive week ahead of you and with that…it’s time to hit the showers.