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Rookie Duties: I’m Becoming Popular In Russia

Well, it finally looks like we’ve got everything squared away with Andrey’s return to the States. I had been getting a little anxious recently because Kuchin was off on vacation with his family until just this past Thursday, which meant he’d need to wait until he returned to Moscow before he could submit his Passport to the US Embassy. With the Steel camp opening up this coming Sunday, it was looking as if Kuch wasn’t going to be able to make it back in time. But after a few stress-filled days, it turns out Andrey had a multiple entry Visa that’s valid through August anyway. Sure might have been nice to know that a couple of weeks ago, but where’s the fun in that right? As of right now, he should be getting back in town this Saturday around 4:00pm. It’s unbelievable how fast it seems time is flying by lately – it feels as though Kuch just left town. One thing’s for sure, though – it’s going to be great to see him.

For any of you who stay tuned into the Rookie Duties Facebook Page, you know that I spent a lot of time last week at the Academy of Human Performance in Aurora, IL. I know in the past I had mentioned that the Academy trains some of the top collegiate and pro athletes in the Midwest. Last week, a good friend and current KHL’er, Mikhail Yakubov, arrived in town. He will be staying through the month of June and was looking for a top-of-the-line workout program to help put some mass on his 6’4’’ frame. I had made a professional connection with the guys over at the Academy, and it seemed like it’d be a great fit for Mike. Since I’m currently working with a few of the trainers on putting together a professional partnership between them and our hockey division, I wanted to be on site to see for myself all the things they’d do for an athlete of Mike’s caliber. We might be sending Andrey to the same place when he gets in town, so I wanted to make sure that the training was going to be worth the price tag – and boy was I impressed.

To begin Mike’s program, the staff put him through a comprehensive three-day assessment – taking all of his measurements and putting him through more tests than I thought possible. Most of the stretching exercises  looked pretty painful, but you could tell that it was going to make a huge difference. I ended up spending all three days with Mike at the facility, and it’s going great so far – I can’t wait to see the strides he’ll have made by the end of his program. The guys at the Academy were nice enough to put together a little packet summarizing the initial test results, and I’ll try my best to get some of it posted online (whether here on SAB or the Facebook Page) so you can get an idea of the great work they’re doing over there.

Also, last week I received an email from a Russian friend about Kuchin – apparently a Russian website got a hold of Dan Furey’s article and posted excerpts from the piece along with commentary of their own. It’s great to see that Andrey is getting the publicity that he has been getting. On top of that, it’s also getting me and my company some additional exposure, which has led to another opportunity to talk about my client.

Sunday afternoon ,I received an email from a contributor of the website “” They’re a leading source of information on all Russian NHL prospects and was one of the sites that got a hold of the Kuchin article a few weeks ago. This time, Russian Prospects wants to interview me, not only about Andrey, but also about my company and what we can offer athletes. This is a site that tons of Russian players pay attention to, so it’s a tremendous opportunity. Chances like this to get free advertising out don’t come along too often, but when they do, you need to take advantage of them.

The main item on my plate for this week is trying to find an AHL tryout for another Russian player who skated in the KHL last season. He recently was informed that 20% of his pay is being cut and it seems as though he’s given the North American leagues a shot. This kid’s a former 4th round NHL pick, so hopefully finding him a PTO won’t be too tough, but you never know.

Well with less than three weeks away until the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, there’s little time to spare around my office, so I’d better get back at it. Please continue posting the great comments and questions on the Facebook Page and I’ll do my best to keep it up-to-date with all your behind the scenes draft happenings. With that, and until next week…it’s time to hit the showers.

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

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