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Kickbacks, Schmickbacks

One of the trends these days in the paths of so many young hockey players these days is to employ an advisor to assist you in your journey. Without delving into the attributes and drawbacks of one advisory company versus another, I want to focus on one aspect that has been mentioned to me by coaches and programs. That topic is kickbacks.

Apparently, kickbacks are both offered to advisors from programs and solicited from advisors to potential programs for their players. To that, I can only say...why? The job of an advisor, as I see it, is to find the best fit for both the player and the team. When you add things like perks and kickbacks to the equation, it both convolutes and taints the process and relationships between all involved.

At Hockey Horizons, we have been offered such kickbacks to persuade a player and their family to join a particular team or program. The figures offered by some of these programs have been, in some cases, larger than the advisory fee we charge a family for the entire year. While it may sound tempting to some, we at HH are of the position that if any form of discount is offered, it should be passed on directly to the athlete. After all, that is our job. Our goal is to find the best program for our athletes, period. In the case of programs that charge tuition, it is to negotiate the best price of tuition for that player and their family.

Some programs have set tuition. Each player pays the exact same amount, regardless of ability of the player or financial hardship of the family. Other programs offer "flexible" tuition. While I see nothing wrong with that, where those savings go is of upmost importance to us. Players need to be very careful when discussing finances with programs as some may be detrimental to a player's NCAA eligibility. Accepting gifts, for example, is a big no-no in the eyes of the NCAA. It is for this reason alone that many players and their families should seek the advise of a mentoring or advisory group. Either that or research each instance as they arrive. Good luck and keep reaching for your own hockey horizon.

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