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Rookie Duties: Waiting is the Hardest Part

Is it just me or is it every week that I leave you with the impression that Matt will have a contract within the next few days?  I’m starting to feel like a Major League closer who just can’t get that final strike in his first big save opportunity – just when I think I’ve got him with a knee-high fastball that dots the outside corner, this guy at the plate somehow manages to foul it off and stay alive. It’s starting to get a little frustrating. As I know I admitted to you in the past, a lot of these things are new to me as well, so sometimes I just need to be patient and learn as I go along.

As I’m sure you can gather, I’ve still yet to receive a contract offer from Louisiana for Matt. The good news is that Matt was able to get on the ice for the last few days and his shoulder has held up pretty well. I’ve talked to him pretty much every day he’s been down there and it sounds as though he’s been skating well, too. While his health and solid on-ice performances help to ease a lot of the tension surrounding the situation, I still just want to get him on this team and move on already.

Yesterday in Louisiana, the team had the day off. Most of the guys went out to the local shopping mall while others were at the hotel packing – a second wave of cuts had just been made. Matt hasn’t really been getting much information from the coaching staff down there, but I suppose at this point no news is good news. With the team having its first game this coming Thursday, though, I would imagine we’re going to hear something very soon. In fact, I’m going to be calling the GM in just about an hour, so maybe we’ll get something good then.

In other news, recently I met up with and had lunch with another player who might be looking for an agent. His name is actually Matt also, and he heard about me from my Russian “brother,” Oleg. At first, when Matt asked if he could have lunch or dinner with me some night to discuss his options, naturally I was a little skeptical – I mean I had never heard of the kid before or seen him play. But realizing that I was going to eventually have to pitch myself and my company to “can’t miss” prospects, I figured I’d go and get some good experience. Worst case scenario, I waste an hour of my day…and I need to eat lunch somewhere right?

The one major difference between the two Matts and their situations is that the Matt that I recently had lunch with hasn’t played in college yet. Seeing as how the NCAA is a group you don’t want to find yourself in trouble with, I decided to play this one very carefully. First off, I bought a digital voice recorder to bring along with me at our meeting. I figure that by recording the entire conversation, if the NCAA ever comes at me or Matt for violating regulations I can always produce the tape. Next, I wanted to be very upfront with Matt in explaining that I couldn’t buy his lunch or agree to represent him until he was absolutely sure that he didn’t want to play hockey at the NCAA level. His eligibility is important and is something can easily be lost. Instead, I let Matt know that I’d be there to answer any questions for him and try to advise him the best that I could. Matt explained that he wanted to play NCAA DI eventually but needed to get his grades up first. Naturally, I told him that I thought that would be a good idea.

Before I go any further, I should probably point out one thing (or I guess another thing) about hockey that makes it a lot different from other sports like football, basketball, or baseball. With hockey, if a player has the talent and makeup of a potential NHL star, he probably won’t be suiting up for a North American university any time soon. Instead, most of the players who make it to the show get drafted straight from Canadian Junior Hockey leagues like the Ontario Hockey League (the “O”), the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (the “Q”), and the Western Hockey League. Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane, Rick Nash, and hundreds of other current and former NHL players are all products of Canadian Major Junior Hockey. And while there are always a few NHL Draft picks playing in the annual NCAA Frozen Four, most of these players were selected before they began their collegiate career. Just as it is with baseball, entering the draft doesn’t compromise a hockey player’s NCAA eligibility.

Anyway, as I was saying, my meeting with Matt wasn’t really an attempt to get a new client – it was more of an opportunity to further develop my ability to sell. With this year’s hockey season officially underway, hundreds of potential stars out there, and all the competition I can handle, I’m going to need all the practice I can get.

As always if and when I get some up-to-date information regarding Matt’s contract status I’ll be sure to post it to my Twitter page at

4 replies on “Rookie Duties: Waiting is the Hardest Part”

Great series of articles, Scott. I’ve been checking back pretty regularly to check up on your players status. Best of luck to landing him a gig for this season, and I’m sure it will begin to get easier with “AA” seasons underway and less players available to “A” level teams. With that said, I have to disagree regarding your NCAA Hockey comments. There have been numerous players lately who have maken the jump straight from the NCAA ranks, as well as many others who have spent limited time in the AHL and haven’t slowed their progress. NCAA is a very appealing route mainly in part to the Strength and Conditioning programs which Major Junior cannot match, as well as the fact that if you are passed up in your draft year you have a much better chance of signing as a free agent out of the NCAA rather than the OHL. Recent players who weren’t slowed by the NCAA route and have benefited off the top of my head include: Toews, Heatley, Miller, Komisarek, Liles, Stalberg, DiPietro, Erik Johnson, Jack Johnson, Cammaleri, Drury, Parise, Stuart, Martin, Gionta, Higgins, Hainsey, Comrie, Stalberg, and many many more. Considering the limited amount of teams in NCAA division 1 , compared to the large amount of major junior teams, and ruling out Atlantic Hockey/CHA as it is glorified Division 3, I would say the percentages of players in the NHL in regards to amount of teams is closer than many people would think. Also, as these players mentioned have shown, the time table is not against them, and often times, it can help them.


Thanks very much for your interest in the column. I really appreciate the great feedback I’ve gotten so far, including your last post. To clarify my NCAA comments, really all I wanted to do was inform readers unfamiliar with the hockey scene as to difference between hockey’s amateur system as compared to that in other sports. While I agree there are a number of fantastic players who played and got drafted from NCAA DI schools, I’m sure you’d also agree that the % of NHL players drafted from college in hockey is much much smaller than the % of NFL or NBA players drafted from american colleges. Looking back on my article, I should have done a better job explaining the message I was trying to get across. Thanks again for your comments.

I definitely favor the NCAA route because (w/o getting in-depth), as you point out, it provides players time to develop and offers most of them free education. Just this year I’ve talked to kids who had D1 offers, passed them up to play in the Dub or the O, and got cut from the team and have to play in a lower junior league w/o a chance of ever playing college hockey.

This is why it’s important for families to get advice from family advisors. The CHL leagues are the best in the world and produce, far and away, the most NHL players. But sometimes its just not the right route for the kid.

And Atlantic Hockey and the CHA really aren’t “glorified” D3 conferences. I played D3 and skate with guys from both divisions every summer; the difference in talent is pretty clear.


As a big U of M fan I agree that a lot of kids go through college for the pros but Scott is dead on about the majority of players going the Canadian route. Just last week the #1 goalie prospect for the 2010 draft, Jack Campbell, a sure fire top 10 pick decommitted from Michigan to go play in the OHL for the Windsor Spitfires. It is rare for elite talent to play in college and even rarer for them to stay more than 1 or 2 years.

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