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When Player Agents Go Public – #freejakegardiner


You have probably never heard of Ben Hankinson, but last night the agent for Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner went public in his support for (presumably) having his client promoted from the Marlies to the AHL, or else outright traded.

With one simple tweet, Hankinson may have changed the landscape of how player agents deal with their clients’ bosses.

Apr 3, 2012; Buffalo, NY, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Ben Scrivens (30) tries to find the puck while Buffalo Sabres right wing Patrick Kaleta (36) and Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner (51) battle for position during the first period at the First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

To me, complaints like this one should be handled behind closed doors between an agent and the club’s management.  If they are not happy with how their client is being treated, twitter is not the forum to air those complaints.

Especially during a tough loss, it puts the Leafs organization in a bad light, but also the player and the agent as well.  It may be true, and maybe Gardiner should be a top pairing defenseman in Toronto right now, but going public in such a way. Yes, agents have gone public with trade demands in the past, but that is usually broken through the media.

Dave Nonis is being put in a tough situation now, because Gardiner probably should be in a Leafs uniform, and after the performance of the Leafs in Winnipeg might just be getting that promotion.  But in the wake of the agent’s tweet, it could give the impression that the Leafs GM can be pressured from outside the boardroom when making such decisions.  Indeed, it could very easily backfire on Hankinson if Nonis decides to send a message that he can not be bullied into making those player personnel decisions.

Either way, this is not something the Maple Leafs organization needs right now, with a blueline corps already unsettled and in turmoil in terms of sitting healthy players who are making big dollars, while playing younger players who are showing some signs of cracking, whether it be under pressure or just inexperience.

Looking from a little ways Northwest, I can’t complain about seeing a little bit of controversy in the Big Smoke.  Guess they were tired of Kaspars Daugavins hogging the media spotlight for a couple of days.