SBJ/March 18 - 24, 2002/Labor Agents

Hockey agents Walsh, Schatia split from AMG to form new firm

Hockey agents Allan Walsh and David Schatia have left AMG Sports, taking about 55 hockey clients with them, as part of a plan to form a new multisport athlete representation firm.

Walsh said he and Schatia have a deal with a television production company, which he would not identify, for building the new firm. Walsh also said he is in talks with both an established basketball agent and an established baseball agent about joining the venture, which would be based in Los Angeles.

Walsh was mum on the names of the agents. He also declined to comment on the name of the planned new company, nor any specifics regarding a timetable for opening.

Walsh and Schatia founded Can-Am Sports Management Group in 1995 and merged the hockey representation firm into the sports division of Artists Management Group in early 2000. AMG is part-owned by Hollywood agent Michael Ovitz.

The hockey group represents 30 players under NHL contract and 25 other players. The NHL players include Minnesota's Marian Gaborik, Ottawa's Martin Havlat, Nashville's Scott Hartnell, Montreal's Richard Zednik and Boston's P.J. Stock.

Walsh and Schatia are bringing eight other employees to the new firm, including representatives in Russia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Switzerland. Walsh said the agreement with AMG to part ways was mutual and amicable.

AMG Sports President Jeff Schwartz echoed that.

"We mutually made a determination that Allan's business would best be served in an organization that would have more synergy with hockey," Schwartz said.

Schwartz said AMG officials have decided to focus on growing the agency's basketball business and its fledgling baseball practice. "Like so many businesses, we are looking inward to determine which businesses will be most profitable in the future," he said.

The departure of Walsh and Schatia comes on the heels of the news that AMG tennis agent Jill Smoller will be leaving the agency to join talent agency William Morris. Smoller recently took over the day-to-day duties of managing tennis star Pete Sampras and will take Sampras with her to the new agency.

Sampras recently re-signed with longtime sponsor Nike after splitting with the company earlier this year. Terms of the new deal, signed earlier this month, were not revealed.

Smoller declined to comment.

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Hockey, Labor and Agents, NHL

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