NHL, union join other sports by rolling out rookie orientation
The NFL, MLB and NBA and the respective players unions — the NFL Players Association, the MLB Players Association and the National Basketball Players Association — have long had such programs for incoming rookies. Now they are joined by the NHL Players’ Association and the NHL, who were set to hold their first such seminar last week in Virginia near Washington, D.C.
Players were to partake in three days of training, including media training, and hear presentations on health and safety issues, as well as information on how to manage personal finances and general life skills guidance. The NHL and the NHLPA have jointly funded the program.
Before the creation of the program, the NHL and NHLPA gave players preparation for several hours on the day of the NHL draft.
Under the terms of the program, each NHL club may send up to three players to the seminar. Alex Dagg, NHLPA director of operations and who oversees the program for the union, said the clubs get to choose the players who attend. The program is not only for those players drafted in the 2013 NHL draft, but also for players drafted in 2012 and before who are likely to see their first significant NHL action this coming season, she said.
The training for the players will include social media training, as well as how to handle newfound celebrity. “They are about to be coming into a fishbowl where they will be analyzed all the time,” Dagg said.
Additionally, players will receive “sensitivity training” to teach them how to deal with women, openly gay players, and players who come into the NHL from different countries and cultures, she said.
Both Daly and Dagg agreed that the program was good for the players and the league, and both said the two sides worked well together in planning the event.
“This is a really positive initiative that we are working on with the league,” Dagg said.
Daly said the league and the NHLPA have worked cooperatively to put the program together, including selecting consultants and experts to speak. “The subject matters are all important, and if communicated effectively, can be beneficial to the professional and life development of our Players,” Daly wrote.
Daly was scheduled to give the players a presentation on the NHL, including its international business, the league history and league initiatives.
The NHL has communicated and consulted with other leagues, which have been “very helpful” in sharing information and their experience about rookie programs, Daly said.
“I am sure it will not be perfect, and that there will be things we want to change and improve upon as we move forward, but that is the nature of the beast,” he added.
> MDR SIGNS WILTON LOPEZ: MDR Sports Management has signed Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Wilton Lopez for representation. MDR Sports Management President and CEO Melvin Roman will represent Lopez, who is arbitration-eligible after this season and can become a free agent in 2015. Lopez was previously represented by The Legacy Agency.
Roman founded Puerto Rico-based MDR Sports Management in 2006, after working for more than a decade for the former CSMG Sports. MDR Sports Management specializes in representing baseball players from Latin America, including Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Colombia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Mexico. The firm represents about 60 baseball players, including 19 major league players.