Agents feel pinch of lockout

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:06 AM ET

National Hockey League players and owners aren't the only ones with their livelihoods at stake if this season is wiped out tomorrow.

More than 150 player agents are anxiously waiting out the countdown to tomorrow's scheduled cancellation -- and the consequence of having some or all of 2005-06 wiped out to damage their stables further.

"This will be devastating for some of us," said Ron Salcer, who works out of Manhattan Beach, Calif., with exclusively hockey players as clients. "I have a small business compared to others, but I know people who've put a lifetime into building up their companies.

"I started in 1980 with my first client, (former Los Angeles Kings forward and current general manager) Dave Taylor," Salcer said.

"I made myself a niche and I've enjoyed it. I hope it's not the end, but I've had a great run of 25 years."

Anton Thun just merged his Thornhill-based ATK Sports Consultants with American Kent Hughes to form M5 Sports. Thun represents Mike Ricci, Glen Murray, Nick Boynton, Ken Klee and Kirk Maltby, while Hughes brought in Vincent Lecavalier, Patrice Bergeron and Matthew Lombardi.

"We were prepared for the lockout going this long and many of our clients, especially the older ones have gone to Europe or made other plans," Thun said. "But at the same time, like everyone else, our landlord has to be paid, the hydro bill comes every month and the people running telecommunications companies aren't going to let us have cell phones for free.

"We're okay from the standpoint of survival, but there's no question our guys would rather be playing in the NHL right now."

Thun said the agents remain in full support of NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow.

"Bob hasn't made it clear to any of us yet what his (exit strategy) is from this, but I'm sure we'll all find out," Thun said.


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