Road games, and road trips. When I was a younger man, I loved the bus trips. Playing cards with the boys, seeing new places, and experiencing new things. More than anything, when you get older, you look back at those experiences and people rather than the wins and losses.
As an Adviser, every game is a road game. I didn’t realize that when we started this company so long ago.
In order to do the job correctly, time on the road is mandatory. I read about people who watch games on line and call themselves Advisers or Agents. Its rather comical to think that anyone would believe this is how the job is done.
An Adviser is a scout. Everything in hockey starts with scouting. Anyone who says differently has not worked in hockey very long or dealt with the NHL in any capacity. He is a different kind of scout, but a scout just the same, and he better be good or he wont be around too long.
Scouting requires time on the road. It requires relationship building, and actually watching games. It requires understanding the real business of hockey at many levels, not simply looking at a player and saying “he’s good”.
My road game schedule recently has taken me to Detroit, Connecticut, Utah, Minnesota, Salt Ste. Marie, Traverse City, and Boston within the last two weeks. Some of these road games are a few days long and some are a few hours. Regardless of duration, a road game is still a road game.
When airline staff and airport restaurant employee’s know you by your first name, you have officially become part of the club.
Its usually around this time of year that emails begin coming in large numbers. College graduates looking to become Advisers. People within the hockey industry looking to make a career change. Players who wake up and realize that they have run out of time and do not have a college commitment.
Its a demanding job. Its a time management challenge every day. Travel arrangements, meetings, hotel reservations, game schedules, practice schedules, public speaking engagements with teams and associations, and still making sure all the work for your clients is being accomplished with NCAA programs.
So, what does all this mean? Why would I write this particular piece?
I am concerned for the Adviser industry. I am concerned that players, parents looking for an Adviser, and people who want to enter the industry do not actually understand what the job entails.
I am also concerned that there are people calling themselves Advisers who simply don’t have the requisite experience to do the job correctly. Those persons are simply signing as many players as they can in the hope that some will eventually make an NCAA roster. That is not how a real Adviser works.
If every reference your potential Adviser gives you is a new client, you have a big red flag. Good Advisers keep clients for years. Good Advisers maintain relationships with those families long after the hockey experience ends.
So, a few words of caution. Be wary of inexperience. Be wary of those who have never risked anything in the game as a player, owner or critical staff member. Be wary of those who are cheap. Be wary of those with too many clients because you have competing interests.
Be wary of those who simply haven’t played enough road games. And on that note, I have to catch a plane.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser