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Volume 22 No. 40
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Octagon, Gongshow apparel put prospects on ‘The Road’

Octagon Hockey has teamed with Gongshow, a hockey lifestyle apparel brand, to produce a film series documenting the joy, excitement and fear of eight young prospects as they get ready for the NHL draft.

It is thought to be the first time a major sports agency has teamed with a company to film its prospect clients leading up to a North American major team sports draft.

“They are not getting any money for this,” said Allan Walsh, Octagon Hockey co-managing director. “It’s not a money deal. But it’s a way for them to get their personal stories out there to the media, hockey fans, or anybody who is interested in the NHL draft.”

The six-episode series, “The Road,” will feature forwards Patrik Laine, Rasmus Asplund, Logan Brown, Boris Katchouk and Pascal Laberge and defensemen Jakob Chychrun, Luke Green and Logan Stanley. All the players are 18 years old or will be this year, and are eligible for the NHL draft, which will be June 24 and 25 in Buffalo.

Chychrun and Laine are potential top draft picks. Chychrun is ranked No. 4 among North American skaters and Laine No. 2 among European skaters by the NHL.com’s draft prospect rankings.

Laine is from Finland. Chychrun and Brown are from the U.S. Asplund is from Sweden and the rest hail from Canada.

Chychrun is represented by agent Andy Scott. Laine is represented by agents Mike Liut and Peter Lehto. The other players are represented by Peter Wallen, Rob Hooper, Walsh and Scott.

“The Road” launched its first episode last week and will air every other week leading up to the NHL draft on the YouTube channels and Twitter and Facebook accounts of both Gongshow and Octagon.

“We have always leveraged video to build our brand over the years, so when the opportunity came up with Octagon to team up and follow around some of the top NHL prospects of the 2016 draft we didn’t hesitate,” said Ger McNamee, Gongshow CEO and co-founder. “Original content is what drives marketing online these days and the concept itself fits in well with our company mandate to help grow the game of hockey and bring more exposure to up-and-coming athletes.”

Right now it’s a one-year deal between the brand and Octagon, but it is possible the two companies could do it again in the future. The shows will feature the players at events such at this month’s IIHF U18 World Championship in Grand Forks, N.D., as well as the NHL combine and the draft.

The idea for the series came out of conversations that McNamee had with Rob Grant, Octagon Hockey client services manager. The two are longtime friends.

Grant said it was something that young players, who grew up watching programs and video on the internet, very much wanted to do.

“It speaks to their generation,” Grant said. “Call it the YouTube generation. This is what they relate to, and it’s important to us what is of interest to our clients. These are young men who were born in 1998, and this is the language that they speak.”

> CAA HOCKEY’S BIG CLASS: CAA Hockey is lined up for a big draft, representing several highly rated prospects who could be taken in the first round, including forward Pierre-Luc Dubois, who is the No. 1-ranked North American skater in the NHL.com draft prospect rankings.

CAA Hockey also signed defensemen Kale Clague, Sean Day and Samuel Girard and forwards Julien Gauthier, Carl Grundstrom and Max Jones.

The players will be represented by a team of agents at CAA Hockey, which is led by Pat Brisson and J.P. Barry. CAA Hockey represents the consensus No. 1 overall pick, forward Auston Matthews, who most recently played for a Swiss team and is ranked No. 1 among European skaters by NHL.com. Matthews was born in the U.S. and raised in the Phoenix area.

Liz Mullen can be reached at lmullen@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @SBJLizMullen.