The discussion on whether to have an agent or not to have an agent is a topic that a lot of hockey players decide on as their careers progress and opportunities come about. It is a topic that is very talked about throughout the hockey world. Amongst players it is widely discussed, and whether or not it is beneficial to have an agent or not too have an agent. Throughout my career I have worked with agents and at times worked without agents. To discuss this matter I tried to break it down into segments of my career and where it would have and wouldn’t have helped me have an agent.
At the start of my career, throughout the junior ranks there had been a lot of discussion about getting an agent and the worries of getting an agent and how it would affect my career going forward. Worries about the possibility over Scholarships and taking the right steps were some things that neither I, nor my family was too familiar with. We opted not to get an agent because of the worries of NCAA eligibility since it was education I was interested in. I had many discussions with schools, campus tours and invitations to check out different teams and what it all meant. At the time, I did not know much about the system and how it worked which is where having an agent may have helped me. It may have opened a few more doors, although when it comes to NCAA eligibility the use of an agent is prohibited, they then usually call themselves, family advisors.
The point in my late teens, junior years where maybe I missed out on was, the opportunity to get my name out there sooner too, junior teams, and OHL teams whatever would have been a different road for me. Maybe it just brought some more exposure to myself and maybe some people, agents, scouts just took more notice to my name, maybe it helped maybe it didn’t, those are the questions players always ask themselves.
The next step would be entering the professional ranks, and for me when I started I figured doing all this on my own was just as easy and more beneficial for me at the time. Not making a lot of money in the minors, the last thing I wanted to do was give up some money to an agent when I could do this all on my own. As year after year went on I questioned whether or not having an agent would help me or hurt me, and I took the chance and signed on with an agent hoping to advance my career. I guess this is where things started getting complicated for me and was something I wasn’t use to at the time. Putting all my trust into someone to do the work for me and make my life put in the best possible situation was something that I struggled with. As I finished a very good season for me, I found that my agent had not found me a better job, didn’t land me anything that was getting to benefit me or my family. Every professional hockey player’s nightmare comes true, putting all your trust into someone and come out with nothing. Not knowing everyday if your agent was doing work for you, if he was putting the time into your career as others, was very tough and warring on me.
After parting ways with my agent due to lack of well, opportunity, security, safety, trust, you name it, I set out on my own once again to go to battle for myself. A few years later, I found myself with another agent, going through the ins and outs of whether or not I am going to have a job, feeling as though I was deserving of a job but not being able to find one, leaving my life to chance in the hands of an agent was something that was very stressful and tough. Many nights thinking of whether or not I am making the right decisions, whether or not I should just be contacting teams, whether or not I should be listening to the advice my agent is giving me and what if there is stuff he isn’t telling me. These are all things as a player you think about. It is a very tough thing to every day wondering what is going to happen, and I have had a lot of friends, a lot of other players questioning the same things I questioned and what are agents incentives were in all of this. I have heard from a lot of players how good their agents where and seen firsthand what having an agent can do for a player in the right situation.
I feel that in every situation in a player’s career they have to make choices and in the end you have to be able to live with your decisions and what you had done. If you don’t make in to the NHL, which is everyone’s dream, you question what if? What if I did this, or what if I did that, and having an agent was one of those things that both my family and I questioned whether or not it would have helped me or not. In my early years as a player in juniors and early out of school, I think having an agent may have helped me get to a different level, maybe it wouldn’t have those are always the questions, but once I got to the point in my career when I felt that regardless of what I did on the ice it wasn’t going to advance me to a point where I was satisfied, then paying that extra money in having an agent isn’t really worth it.
If you are so dedicated to the sport early in your career and the opportunity is there to get an agent is there, I would say take the chance, get an agent and let them do some work early to get your name out there. Only later, can you decide whether or not it will help your career or hurt your career and make you able to make your own choices on agent or no agent in fulfilling your life in the hockey world.
About the Author,
Ryan Fairbarn is a former professional hockey player, a Rochester Institute of Technology graduate, founder of RyanFairbarn.com and Co-owner of Swedishstickhandling.com. Also a Well Coach and Director of Marketing and Social Media at Ideal Weight- Total Well Coach.