Aiming For The Top! – Episode 8: Back in the Mix?

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.

Hello everyone! After a great trip to Halifax, I am back home in Quebec City, at least for a short period of time. I am always on the road, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

The trip to Halifax was a ton of fun. Instead of flying, Michel (our G.M.) and I decided to drive. This was an excellent choice. We both like driving, so it was an easy choice for us. I see long road trips as a great occasion to relax, brainstorm and sightsee. Not to mention listen to some good music and mingle a little bit with the locals (especially when you stop at a Tim Horton’s, the favourite gathering place in small towns!).

Once in Halifax, we got to spend time with Don MacAdam, our V.P. of representation. This is always fun as Don is, in my eyes, a legend! Just listening to his experiences and stories is a trip. Plus, we got to chat over some famous Maritimes fish ‘n chips and beer. What a life! Now, we were not only there for fun, we actually spent most of the time in the rink, watching games, meeting with coaches and scouts.

Prior to coming to Halifax, one of the readers of this site contacted me. Since he is from Halifax, we had the chance to meet up with him and have breakfast. It was truly a great meeting as he is an exceptional young man whom I feel will do well in whatever endeavour he takes on – he would be a perfect fit for VSM! You gotta love maritimers, such warm and friendly people.

Hockey-wise, it was great to see team Quebec win the silver medal. One of our players was on that team and he was ecstatic. The team played well throughout the tournament. One thing that was surprising was the B.C. team. They shocked Ontario in the semi-finals and then went on to beat Quebec in the finals. Although they were not the strongest team, they were led by a powerhouse first line! The best game I saw by far was a shootout shocker between Alberta and Quebec, the latter team winning of course. You guys should have seen Alberta’s defence, all studs!

On a side note, our ride back to Quebec was an interesting one. It was raining so hard in New Brunswick, we had to pull out our top notch driving skills thanks to many periods of aqua-planning…I’m glad we got back in one piece!

Back to the Tim Hortons piece. If you have never been to Canada, you would be amazed at the amount of Tim Hortons along the transcanadian highway. What is even more interesting is they are all full of people, at any time of the day. If you ever feel lonely or tired, you know where to stop, truly Canadian! If I ever get out of the agency business (which will not happen any time soon), I am definitely going to buy a Tim Hortons. C’mon, how can you say no to free doughnuts and coffee (me laughing sarcastically)?

A couple of days ago, I had an extremely positive chat with a potential first round NHL draft pick from Sweden. I am hoping that we have the chance to show him and his family the full extent of what we have to offer, as I am confident that we can help him like no other agency. This reminds me… when people meet me, they quickly realize that I am a very confident and passionate person. Sometimes, I can get carried away because I so strongly believe in our agency and our services. This can occasionally be perceived as arrogance, and I truly apologize to all of you who perceive this that way, maybe you will get a chance to know me and learn just how humble I am. If I can give advice to up and coming agents, do not worry to much about this. If you want to succeed in life, especially at a young age, you will definitely piss some people off. As my parents always said: “If you want to make an omelette, you have to break eggs”. So, get out there, get aggressive, and don’t be afraid to break a few eggs. As long as your intentions are pure, life with guide you in the right direction!

Finally, I am really happy that our pro’ goalie situation is now fixed. His AHL team found him another team in the minors, and he will be back on track in no time. This kid is a true champion. I wish that all of you have the chance one of these days to work with such an exceptional young athlete!

Till next time, I’ll be in the kitchen or in the rink, breaking some eggs and making some real good omelettes!

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.