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An Advisers Life – Six Signs You Have A Bad Adviser Or Agent

Now, I know I am probably going to piss off half of my colleagues by writing this column today, but its time some of these things are talked about.

Keep in mind when reading this that your Adviser has similar responsibilities as your Doctor and Lawyer.  Yes, you read that correctly, I said Doctor and Lawyer.  Your Doctor makes sure you’re healthy and your Lawyer protects you from bad decisions.  Your Adviser makes sure your career is healthy and keeps you from making bad decisions.

The most important duty that both of those professions swear an oath too is to “Do no harm”.  Those three words are so very important.  “Do no harm”  Those are the same words that every professional Adviser must swear to when dealing with players.  I say “professional Adviser” because there are simply too many Advisers out there that are not professional and do not even understand the rules.

That phrase “do no harm” has significant meaning in nearly every aspect of the job.  It really is the foundation on which everything a good Adviser does.

So, when reading these Five Signs, keep in mind that if these signs reflect things that are happening to you, then chances are, there is some harm being done.  I will try to give brief examples when ever possible.

6. Your adviser gets you placed on a team. You like where you are, your team mates like you, and you are having success. Then your adviser talks you into quitting the team to move to another team and the new team is in an unsanctioned league, with no schedule released, and no assurance of playing. This is usually an adviser who is paid a finders fee by teams, and known as an ambulance chaser among other advisers in the business.

5.  Your Adviser is always telling you what you want to hear.  If he always answers “yes” when you ask a question, you do not have an Adviser, you have a people pleaser.  A good Adviser will say “no” as often or more often then he says “yes”.  When you ask him if you should attend a certain team camp and he says “yes”, is there a basis for him saying “yes”?  Like does he know and can he tell you how many openings are on the team at your position?  Can he tell you in advance how many other players will be at the camp?  Don’t take the “I know the coach” answer.  You need facts.

4.  Your Adviser does not answer your phone calls, return phone calls, or answer emails within 24 hours.  Your Adviser works for you.  Now that doesn’t mean you can call and pester him every day.  But it does mean he has a duty to respond to you in a timely manner.

3.  Your Adviser acts like he is one of your buddies.  Your Adviser should be a professional.  You are not supposed to be telling old war stories back and forth.  It is a serious job, not a hobby.  Your Adviser can be friendly with you, but it should not be a relationship where you feel you are with another one of the boys in the dressing room.  Friends have a hard time delivering hard to talk about news to other friends.  If you want a friend, go find one, don’t pay for one and think he is an Adviser.

2.  You keep asking to attend the highest level camps, and your Adviser puts you into team camp situations that are clearly over your head.  If you get cut from NAHL teams, you have no business going to an OHL camp.  If you are a second line player from Tier III, you have no business thinking you belong in a USHL camp.  It is your Adviser’s job to be honest with you and put you into a situation where you will be successful, not a situation where you dream or hope to be.

1.  Your Adviser sends you from camp to camp to camp all summer long.  Your Adviser forces you to spend thousands of dollars going from one open, or team pre draft camp to another.  Your Adviser says it helps to get your name out there.  This is completely wrong because you are paying your Adviser to get your name out there.  You are paying to attend main camps that do not have 250 players.  You are paying your Adviser to get you drafted, tendered, or to sign a contract without spending thousands more on team “try out” camps.

Being an Adviser is something I do full time.  My clients do not attend “open” or “team pre draft” camps unless they really want to and it is a local camp for them.  My clients get drafted, sign tenders, sign contracts and go to pre qualified main camps.  We do one or two showcase events in the summer because we want to, and its a good opportunity to network.

If your Adviser fits into any one of those six signs, you have an Adviser that is harming your career.  There is no other way to say it.

If your Adviser is not saving you money, he is DOING HARM.  An Adviser should pay for himself every year with the money he saves you from attending worthless camps.  Your Adviser has a fiduciary responsibility to you as his client, and if he is not saving you money he is ignoring that responsibility.

If your Adviser does not discuss a real plan with you, then you have no plan.  There are many paths to NCAA hockey.  Yours will be one that is unique unto itself.  No two players take the exact same path.  Remember this when dealing with your Adviser, or interviewing one you may hire.

Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser


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