SBJ/June 9-15, 2014/Labor and Agents

Young firm finds opportunity with top NHL prospect

Less than two years after leaving Bobby Orr’s hockey player representation firm to start his own agency, NHL agent Darren Ferris is representing one of the three prospects most likely to be selected No. 1 overall in the NHL draft later this month.

Ferris’ agency, ARC Sports Group, represents Kingston Frontenacs center Sam Bennett of the Ontario Hockey League, who, along with two other Canadian junior hockey players, defenseman Aaron Ekblad and center Sam Reinhart, are seen as vying to be selected No. 1 overall in the NHL draft in Philadelphia on June 27, according to hockey agents and analysts.

Newport Sports, founded by agent Donnie Meehan, represents Reinhart, center and captain of the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League. Ekblad, captain of the Barrie Colts of the OHL, is represented by the Orr Hockey Group.

Ferris knows both Ekblad and Bennett well, as he recruited both of them when he worked for the Orr Hockey Group. “They are the best of friends,” he said of Bennett and Ekblad.

But when Ferris left the Orr Hockey Group in 2012 after working there for 17 years as Orr’s top recruiter, Bennett was one player who left with him. “He wasn’t comfortable staying,” Ferris said.

Orr Hockey Group managing partner and Ferris’ former boss, Rick Curran, echoed that. 

“When Darren left, Sam Bennett was the one player who chose to stay with Darren,” Curran said. “None of the rest of us knew Sam Bennett that well. We decided to respect Sam’s decision that he wanted to stay with Darren and we didn’t block it.”

Ekblad stayed with Orr’s Boston-based firm, and Jeff Jackson, a former NHL player who replaced Ferris, is the defenseman’s primary agent now.

Ferris said the potential of representing the No. 1 overall pick is “tremendous” for the future of his company, which he established in Toronto in November, 2012. “I wasn’t going to build my business off of their business,” he said of the Orr Hockey Group. “I am building this organically and that was my intention from day one.”

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