Focusing on player agents in professional ice hockey, this paper utilizes the theoretical construct of agency theory as a means of evaluating attempts by several stakeholder groups to find solutions to opportunistic agent behavior. As proposed by agency theorists, this would include the creation and implementation of monitoring mechanisms by industry stakeholders in order to regulate agent activities. Stakeholder groups involved include state and federal governments, the agents themselves, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and Players' Associations, which, at various times, all have adopted forms of certification programs in attempts to monitor player agents. Documentation on these programs and interviews with industry stakeholders are employed to develop criteria by which such programs can be assessed in terms of their ability to reduce traditional agency problems. In doing so, it is argued that the agency model can be used to provide additional insight into problems associated with these programs and to improve program effectiveness in monitoring hockey agent behavior.
Daniel Mason is with the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742. Trevor Slack is with the School of PE, Sport & Leisure at DeMontfort University, Bedford MK40 2BZ, UK.