SBJ/June 25 - July 1, 2001/Labor Agents

Devils' Elias finds new agency close to home, hopes for new contract

In a major deal for 10-year-old International Sports Advisors Co., the company signed rising New Jersey Devils star Patrik Elias for contract negotiation and marketing work.

"It means the world to us that someone who we feel is one of the top seven or eight players in the world thinks we have done a good job for our other clients and can do a good job for him," said Todd Diamond, who with partner Mark Gandler owns Montclair, N.J.-based International Sports Advisors.

Diamond said Elias interviewed them and three or four other hockey agents after he terminated his agent, Rich Winter, earlier this year. Diamond said they contacted Elias after his termination of Winter became public knowledge.

One of the first orders of business will be to get Elias a playing contract more in line with his performance on the ice, Diamond said. He finished third in the NHL scoring race and led the Devils in playoff scoring this season.

Elias signed a three-year deal last year after a 45-day holdout as a restricted player with no arbitration rights. "Patrik has been underpaid throughout his career," Diamond said. He was paid $675,000 this past season and is slated to be paid $750,000 next year.

After next season, he is eligible for arbitration, and the New York Post recently speculated that he could get a new deal worth upward of $5 million a year.

As far as renegotiating his deal, Diamond said, "If something can be done this summer, great. Otherwise we will wait our turn."

Winter said he was disappointed to lose Elias. "The reality was Patrik Elias is a player who dramatically outperformed his contract, which was solely the product of a system that did not give him any leverage to negotiate," he said.

Winter said that Elias told him agents have been working to wrest him away since the contract was signed. "We had guys flying over to the Czech Republic last summer, telling him he should switch," Winter said.

 AMG SIGNS SANDERS: AMG Sports has signed sports broadcaster and 1992 Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Summer Sanders for endorsements, marketing and broadcast work.

Manager Jill Smoller, who will be handling Sanders' career, has signed a deal for her to be a reporter for NBC during the 2002 Winter Olympics. Sanders was formerly represented by SFX.

  ALL PRO STARTS GOLF DIVISION: All Pro Sports, a top NFL representation firm, has started a golf division and signed PGA Tour player Jonathan Kaye as its first major client.

Denver-based All Pro, which represents 63 NFL players, including superstar Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George, has hired former professional golfer Grant Wittenwyler as head of the new division.

"We hope to be as successful in golf as we are in football," said All Pro principal Peter Schaffer. "Jonathan Kaye is a good one to get started with because he is a guy on the tour with a lot of character. ... He is running dialogue with the gallery for the whole round. If a guy is yelling at him, he yells back."

  RLR SIGNS CURRY: RLR Associates has signed former coach and current ESPN football analyst Bill Curry to represent him in television, radio and marketing work. RLR agent Craig Foster will represent Curry.

If you have agent or labor news, contact Liz Mullen at lmullen@amcity.com.

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