Most hockey agents are lawyers. Lawyers gravitate towards a career as a sports agent because their negotiating skills, honed during law school, are useful for negotiating contracts and marketing players. While the need for agents is an easy concept to grasp, figuring out who needs an agent can be trickier.
After discussing this topic with a current hockey player, the notion surfaced that agents are crucial at all levels of play and arguably are most important for players just starting out in their hockey career.
At what level does a player need an agent? To answer this question the needs and specific situation of the player must be taken into account. If the player has several teams interested in their skills, an agent may be helpful in finding the best opportunity for a player or for negotiating contract terms. Even if the player doesn't have teams interested, an agent can be useful in marketing the player's talents to generate interest and opportunities.
It is a common misconception that only professional hockey players playing in the NHL have agents. While NHL players absolutely have agents, players in the minor leagues have them and need them as well. The role played by agents at the professional level is no less important at the lower level. In fact, it has been argued that agents are more important when players are starting out because they have a bigger hand in helping players reach their full potential.
Whether looking to play for in the juniors or looking to play in the NCAA, players and their parents have lots of questions. Agents can provide answers and guidance to help players find the best fit. It has been said that agents are always looking towards the future. This argument has a lot of merit and highlights why agents are crucial for players in just about every level of hockey. The aid provided to players gives them their best shot at a professional career in hockey. Agents, through their legally codified fiduciary duties, take on the interests of the players they represent as their own. In other words, an agent succeeds when the player they represent does.
While some view agents as money-grabbing and self-interested, they are crucial in helping hockey players at all levels plan and navigate their hockey career. Whether the questions be of a legal nature regarding contract provisions, contract negotiations, or pertaining to what teams have openings, agents can provide answers. While players can negotiate their own contracts, most players utilize agents to deal with the legal work so they can focus on their game. Players serious about al hockey career should find an agent to ensure their legal rights and best interests are adequately represented.