Understanding Principal-Agent Relationships: Evidence from Professional Hockey

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Daniel S. Mason University of Alberta

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Trevor Slack University of Alberta

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This paper examines the professional hockey industry to explore the principles of agency theory. Using basic tenets derived from the agency literature and conditions specific to the hockey industry, a series of propositions are developed. These are investigated using data from industry documents, popular articles on hockey, and interviews with players, agents, team managers and other relevant industry stakeholders. The results suggested that concerns for agent reputation, agent competition, agent certification and salary disclosure have cumulatively reduced information asymmetry favoring the agent and have decreased the likelihood of agent opportunism. This has resulted in a decrease in the use of commissions by agents, but this form of performance contingent compensation remains the most widely used form of remuneration.

The authors are with the International Institute for the Study of Sport Management, Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB.

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