Advice From An Agent and Advisor: Scott Deady!

So we’ve done many, many interviews with players, but every now and then we like to switch it up and interview hockey-related people like scouts, and we’ve done that once again! This time we have an interview with Momentum Hockey Player Agent/Advisor Scott Deady! Although agents are often overlooked in importance, ask any player and they’ll tell you right away how important having an agent is. Momentum Hockey provides services from Athlete Marketing to Tax Planning and everything in between. To learn more about Momentum Hockey check out their website here. To learn more about Scott, make sure to follow him on Twitter. He doesn’t exclusively talk about his clients and is a fun follow! If you enjoy what we do, you can follow us or like us. Without any more of my rambling, here is our interview with Scott Deady!

Editor’s note: Comments have been edited for clarity. We are in bold.

So according to your Twitter bio, you’re a Player Agent/Advisor for Momentum Hockey. Is there a difference between an agent and an advisor?

Yes there’s a big difference. Agents represent pros while advisors represent amateurs. Agents also act as advisors but it’s important to differentiate between the two because each comes with different responsibilities and, more importantly, restrictions. Some of the things we do for our pro clients as agents would be in violation of NCAA regulations when dealing with an amateur player. You have to be very careful to stay within the confines of the regulations and act only in an “advisory” capacity to ensure no chances are being taken with the players’ amateur status.

What’s a day in the life of a Player Agent/Advisor?

There really isn’t a “typical” day in my job. It all depends on what’s going on in hockey or with clients.

If it’s a weekday, I start my morning off with a cup of coffee, hop online, and check out any news from the previous day/night I may have missed. Player signings, trades, industry business…really anything pertaining to the world of hockey. Then I go through my reminders I set the day before. Emailing coaches and scouts, checking in with clients and their families, reaching out to potential and current marketing partners. Taking new calls…all depends on what happened the day(s) before.

If it’s a weekend, I’m at the rink. Usually start off early in the day with some of the younger kids. Might have to shuffle around to a couple of arenas. By 5 or 6 it’s usually time to focus on the older clients. Might be heading to a Junior game or college game, might mean watching a game online, might mean heading to the UC or watching one of our NHL guys on TV. All depends.

People often only hear about the flashy parts of being an agent/advisor, such as the contract negotiations and trade requests. What are some less flashy parts of being an agent/advisor?

Most of it haha. Best way I can describe it is with a story. A few years back I was in Detroit for a AAA showcase. At the same time, I had a client playing in the OHL who had a Saturday night game in Windsor and a Sunday afternoon game in Sarnia. So I spent Saturday in Detroit, drove across the border to Ontario that night and went to the game. On my way back to Detroit that night, there was a huge blizzard. I pulled up to the border and was the only person on the road let alone crossing the border at 2am. The border patrol guard asked me the usual questions…”Where are you heading?” “Detroit.” “And you’re staying there?” “Well no, I’ll be back in the morning.” “For what?” “The same client who I saw tonight has another game tomorrow.” “And how long will you be staying in Canada then?” “Only for a couple of hours…I’ll be coming back to the States tomorrow afternoon.” “I’m assuming you’re an agent?” “ Yeah.” “Well (as she looks around at the barren road…) I suppose it really isn’t like Jerry Maguire eh?”

Many agents have a specialty, what’s yours?

Well I’m a lawyer so I suppose I’d have to say contracts would be my specialty. Not so much the playing contracts – those are standard boilerplate, fill in the blank deals. But in order to be creative and structure deals within the confines of the CBA, you have to understand the CBA. And the CBA is a legal document just like any contract. Obviously part of law school is being able to read and interpret legal documents. It’s probably the area where my law degree comes in handy the most.

How do you as a Player Player Agent/Advisor market yourself so potential clients choose Momentum Hockey instead of other firms?

It’s all about personal relationships and your reputation. We focus on being selective with who we recruit so that each player is a person to us, not just a number on a balance sheet. Sorry I can’t give you more than that but our specific recruiting methods are kept internal.

Most people don’t grow up wanting to be an agent/advisor. How did you decide that you wanted to be in a Player Agent/Advisor?

I actually probably came as close to growing up wanting to become an agent as anyone has. Playing in the Tretiak Cup, which evolved into the Bauer Invite, we were asked to house Russian players. At the time, I was smart enough to know I wasn’t going to the NHL. But I wanted to stay involved in the sport and some of the kids who stayed with my family did have that potential. I had a slight urge to pursue a legal career and parents from my teams growing up would back me up when I say I always had a knack for sales. So I decided to skip Junior hockey, head straight to college at 18, and direct the focus of my undergraduate and law school work to put me in the best position to help other hockey players achieve their dream of playing in the NHL.

Most exciting thing you’ve done as a Player Agent/Advisor?

It’s all relative. Most of the things that I thought were “exciting” happened earlier in my career – before I was established. Meeting with the Russian Olympic Committee in Moscow was probably one of them. In undergrad I took Russian for three years and kept in touch with my Russian friends. So when I travelled to Moscow to visit some clients I was able to get a meeting with the Olympic Committee. One other notable “shake yourself” moment was the first time i received a call from a former NHLer, who now works for the same NHL team he played for. He was calling about a client of mine. As a Chicago native and Blackhawks fan, my entire childhood was ruined by him tormenting the team I loved most. I’m sure there are plenty of things I do on a daily basis now that years ago I would’ve considered exciting. Spend enough time in the industry and you realize we’re all just people working in the same industry.

Most painstaking thing you do as a Player Agent/Advisor?

I don’t know if this fits the description, but once I flew to Columbus, OH to see a goaltender I’m advising. I flew in, checked in at my hotel, showered, changed, drove to the rink, only to see that the coach decided to play the other goaltender since it was only a preliminary game of their District Tournament. I have way too many other stories about brutal travel schedules but the best stories are from when I first started out and didn’t have the resources to fly everywhere I wanted. Don’t get me wrong, I still drive a ton…and they’re boring drives. But I’d never make the Chicago-Toronto-New Haven-New York City-Chicago drive, like I did five years ago, at this point in my career.

If you’re referring to more of an emotional drain, the worst part is hearing about players being taken advantage of by “advisors” trying to get rich quick. I’ve seen emails from “advisors” (and yes i’m intentionally including the quotation marks) to coaches about players they’ve never even personally seen play. What coach is going to take that seriously? And then to hear that a family paid that “advisor” thousands of dollars? It makes me sick. Hockey is a very small and tight circle. If you’re a parent or player being approached by an advisor, make sure to do your homework and ask around about them first.

The trend is moving towards agents approaching players younger and younger, what is your stance on it and why do you believe this is happening?

It’s happening because everyone wants to win the race. If you’re the only one at the table, you have a better shot of landing a kid than a scenario where there are five other groups talking to them. There are different timelines in the U.S. and Canada. Kids are getting recruited much earlier north of the border. In the U.S., there’s a general understanding about when we start approaching players and their families. I think for the most part the more competent agencies know that the younger you recruit, the harder it is to project pro potential. So many factors come into play. Every year I pick up one or two 17 year olds who were “late bloomers.” And every year you see a kid who was “the next best thing” at age 13 fade away. Those “advising” companies I referred to before who are just looking to make a quick dollar don’t care as much about long-term potential so they might not care. That’s what makes us different.

Who should we interview next?

It’s too bad you can’t interview my car. She knows all the best stories.

Advice for people wanting to enter the business?

Don’t try to get into the industry with one foot in and one foot out. You’ll fade away like I’ve seen so many “new faces” at the rink do. Unless your next-door neighbor or best friend is on the doorstep of the NHL and wants you to represent him, be prepared for a very long road of tough hours and very little income. I spent the weekend nights of my 20’s in ice rinks watching Bantam and Midget hockey while my friends were out at the bars. I don’t regret it one bit, but it’s still a major sacrifice.

I remember a conversation I had with the guys running the first agency I worked with right out of law school. After offering me a job they told me that after meeting with me a couple of times over the course of several days, they said to each other, “this kid is dumb enough to succeed in this industry with or without us…we’d better hire him.” Even then I didn’t really know how tough of a road it would be. But today I’m glad I was that stupid at the time. To me, it was worth it to be able to do what I love for the rest of my life.

At the same time be leery of potential “opportunities.” I’ve heard too many stories of firms bringing a kid on to scout for them only to have that same company steal the scouts “clients” and push him to the side. Don’t think that getting in with an agency is your golden ticket. Surround yourself with good people and put in the work. This isn’t a “normal” industry to work in…and in a lot of ways I’m glad it’s not.

Thanks for your time.

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