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https://www.concordia.ca/content/shared/en/news/offices/vpaer/aar/2018/01/24/scoring-an-assist-on-pro-hockey-careers.html

Scoring an assist on pro hockey careers

Former Stinger Michael Baslyk helps young players navigate their professional lives on and off the ice as a partner at Quartexx Management
January 24, 2018
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By Damon van der Linde

For a young hockey player with National Hockey League prospects, the money can come fast, the temptation to spend is high, the attention is intense and managing life can be overwhelming. It can all move so quickly that it’s not uncommon to hear stories about athletes who lose direction and struggle to make ends meet once the pro career is over.

Michael Baslyk Michael Baslyk, BA 09, joined the Quartexx Management agency when it was founded in 2015.

The goal of Michael Baslyk, BA (poli. sci.) 09, is to help guide players on and off the ice during these crucial years so they can focus on the game.

“They’re smart people, they’re fluent in front of a camera and used to public settings, but just need to be educated more,” says Baslyk, a National Hockey League Players' Association Certified Agent. “A lot of it falls on mismanagement.”

Baslyk is a partner at Quartexx Management, a sports agency that works with players as young as 16 to help them and their families achieve lifelong success through every stage of their careers.

“In addition to developing our clients into good hockey players and good people, our goal when we bring in players at such a young age is to educate them and give them examples of athletes who are careless, who spend their money without thinking or are making investments with the wrong people,” he says.

“They live in a very fast-paced lifecycle and, obviously, they’re making a lot of money at a young age.”

Michael Baslyk in action Michael Baslyk in action for the Concordia Stingers in 2009.

Baslyk says he learned a lot about the positive impact of being supported as an athlete while playing on the Concordia Stingers hockey team from 2005 to 2009 under long-time head coach Kevin Figsby.

“He was the one that gave me the opportunity to keep pursuing my hockey career,” says Baslyk. “Maybe I would have never come to the realization that I wanted to work in the sports world.”

Studying political science at Concordia, Baslyk says his courses on international security and international public law also inspired him to venture out beyond his native Montreal.

Following a professional hockey career in France and Belgium, Baslyk earned an MBA in sport management from the IE Business School in Madrid, Spain. He then returned home to Montreal and landed a job in product development at Reebok-CCM Hockey.

However, just a few months into the position he left to work with fellow Concordia grad Lino Saputo Jr., BA 89, CEO of Saputo Inc., one of the world’s largest dairy producers. Saputo had just opened a state-of-the-art training facility called Hockey Etcetera in Montreal.

Baslyk says while he loved his work as director of Hockey Operations, after less than half a year decided to pitch his vision of starting an agency. As it turned out, Saputo already had similar ambitions.

“What I thought would be one of the most difficult pitches in my life ended up being the easiest,” says Baslyk.

Saputo founded Quartexx Management in 2015 with investors such as Montreal business magnate Mitch Garber, combining training at NHL-quality facilities with all the other services an agency could possibly provide. This includes skill development, contract negotiations and marketing. It also takes a holistic approach to players’ careers by helping organize personal finances, life management and even planning for retirement.

“Mike is very passionate about hockey and committed to providing good guidance to prospects as they transition to becoming NHL bound,” says Saputo. “His drive and his understanding of the inner workings of player contracts make him a valuable asset.”

Today, Quartexx manages more than 40 professional hockey players, including NHL stars Patrice Bergeron, Kris Letang and Marco Scandella, and has successfully negotiated more than $1 billion in contracts. Last year the company also grew when it merged with global hockey boutique agency MFIVE.

Whether it’s an issue in the player’s personal life or advice on handling an unexpected expense, Baslyk says a crucial part of his job that sets him apart as an agent falls in the realm of crisis management and adapting to needs as they arise.

“More often than not, the agent is the one who’s their first call,” he says.

“As much as there is some business and some law elements tied to the job, a lot of it also revolves around sports psychology and getting to know your players inside out in order to be able to respond to crises. It’s a beautiful job.”

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