Aiming For The Top! – Episode 7: On the road to Halifax

This is an in depth weekly series that chronicles the quest of a boutique hockey agency, VSM Hockey, to reach the top of the NHL hockey agent world. Its story is narrated by its president and founder, Nikolaï Ray.

Another week has gone by… Man it goes so fast! I am currently on a trip to Halifax for the Canada Games, a tournament that is hosting the top 15 year old players of the country. I have printed out presentation documents for players and coaches with whom we will be meeting, going through our scouting reports, checking scores of the tournament so far and making sure that I have all the contact information of the people who I need to contact while in Halifax.

Michel Leclerc (our General Manager) and I have already left Quebec City. I prefer driving whenever I can as it is nice to have the freedom of having your car at all times and I actually like long distance driving, it is good time to think and be creative, and to relax also! Unless I have to go somewhere that is more than a 10 hours rid, I usually drive, unless I am going to Toronto, because there is a direct business flight, no hassle, no line-ups at the airport and plus this specific airline hires really nice flight attendants! Oh, c’mon, the little pleasures in life…

We will be staying the night in Fredericton tonight, and will be arriving in Halifax Thursday morning. This will be just in time for the semi-finals and finals. Our V.P. of player representation and Head Scout have been at the tournament all week, so it will be good to meet up with them! They will give us the low-down on all the happenings thus far. I plan to meet personally with a couple of players since we have already made first contact; I want to show them personally that we are committed to representing them.

I also wish to meet with a couple of coaches, scouts, and some other interesting people. In fact, a reader of this site contacted me, so I will be meeting up with him during my trip.

A couple nights ago, I had a real productive meeting with our G.M., one of our high performance mentor’s and our chief legal counsel. I wanted to communicate to them the direction that we are going and show them our strategic plan. In the same vane, we have released another player. I calculate that we will be releasing around 5 to 8 players in the upcoming weeks, as this is part of our purification process. Sometimes you need to take a step back in order to take 3 steps forward. See, I do not wish for VSM to be just another agency. I feel that we offer services that no other agency, no matter how much money they have, can dream of offering. Why is this you ask? Our competitive advantage is in our scientific athletic development department. Combined with the techniques and methods that I have designed thanks to my studies in exercise science, biomechanics, nutrition, sports psychology, and a myriad of other subjects that I have incorporated into athlete development, we have a program like none other! And let’s face it, the best way to get a bigger contract for a player is to make him a better player. No matter how good of a salesman your agent is, if you are a third liner, you will probably not be getting the same contract as a first liner. Our philosophy is that the best agent is the player and his performance. So, since VSM will become the best agency in the world, not the biggest, the best, we must do some cleaning up. In order to be the best, we must serve the best, develop the best and be recognized as the best. So, there is no more room for certain players in our agency who simply have minor league potential or do not have the attitude that fits with the VSM way. This might seem harsh, but business is harsh, especially athlete representation. I feel that the best leadership style is a firm, value-based way of doing business.

On the recruitment side of things, I am quite pleased. I spoke with a top Swedish prospect and will be continuing my conversation with him and his father this weekend. I also have a scheduled conversation with a Czech player and a Finnish player. As usual, I will keep you updated, but until they are signed, I can not divulge any information. I can assure you that if we sign these players, it will be one of the best decisions of their careers!

I only got a couple of hours of sleep last night, but I’m now on the road grinding out the drive. As you can see, passion must drive you!