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The 12th annual Concordia Sports Business Conference wrapped up last Saturday with Olympian and businessman Bruny Surin speaking to Concordia business students about sports representation and the life of the agent. Billed as an opportunity for business students to hear from and network with sports business professionals from around the country, the conference was organized by John Molson Sports Marketing, a committee run by students from the John Molson School of Business.

The 12th annual Concordia Sports Business Conference wrapped up last Saturday with Olympian and businessman Bruny Surin speaking to Concordia business students about sports representation and the life of the agent.
Billed as an opportunity for business students to hear from and network with sports business professionals from around the country, the conference was organized by John Molson Sports Marketing, a committee run by students from the John Molson School of Business. The JMSM has distinguished itself in the country through its hosting of this annual event, which draws students in from across the nation?
The 2007 conference included a number of success stories in the sports industry. This year saw TSN reporter Michael Whalen and vice president of marketing and sales for the Montreal Canadiens Ray Lalonde open the speaker series. Whalen served as a reporter for twenty-five years while Lalonde developed revenue-generating advice as a member of the NHL Executive Business Advisory Board.
Field Day Inc. president Andrew Arntfield closed the first day’s speeches. Arntfield brought to the students over seventeen years of marketing experience with professional teams in the NHL (Toronto Maple Leafs, Anaheim Ducks), NBA (Toronto Raptors, Cleveland Cavaliers, Washington Wizards,) and NFL (San Francisco 49ers).
Students also met a few other local success stories in Mark Weightman and Sebastien Paradis. Weightman, currently the Montreal Alouettes vice-president of operations and events, holds a bachelor degree in marketing fromConcordia. Montreal native Paradis served as sports marketing director for Oakley and currently works as director of field marketing for Red Bull in Eastern Canada.
“It’s been a great success so far, everyone’s made themselves available to the students and they are really getting a lot out of it,” said JMSM president Adam Gold.
Following a Friday dinner at Molson Hall and a night out at club 737, the students received another treat when Canadian Olympic gold medalist and entrepreneur Bruny Surin took the (speaker’s) podium. Winner of a gold medal in the 4X100 meter relay in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Surin found success in the business world following his retirement.
One of the companies under the Surin Group, for which Surin serves as chief executive officer, is a management firm and sports marketing agency named Top Elite Management. Top Elite manages numerous track and field athletes including 2006 Commonwealth Games 100m champion Sherri-Ann Brooks.
Kris Mychasiw, Brooks’ agent and Top Elite’s chief operating officer, appeared with Surin and talked with the students about the day to day business of athlete representation. Mychasiw, who hails from a town of about 2000 people located four hours north of Thunder Bay, Ontario, made sure to stress to the students the importance of seizing opportunities when they present themselves.
“In 2003 I was writing for a track and field website that me and my friends had started up,” he said. “We were looking for ways to attract readers the website and I suggested that we should interview Bruny Surin.”
During a conversation with Surin, Mychasiw brought up the subject of sports marketing because he knew that Surin was involved with it.
“I asked him what I needed to do to get into sports marketing and he mentioned that he had been looking to expand. I called his bluff and asked him when he needed me to start,” he said.
Mychasiw made a good call, as he was later asked by Surin when he could come to Montreal. Though he didn’t believe it at first, Mychasiw knew it was for real when he told Suring that he did not have the means to get there and soon after received an e-ticket for a flight to the city.
“It all started with me taking a chance.sometimes it may only look like an opportunity but if you don’t take a chance to try for it then you’ll never achieve anything,” he said.
Mychasiw went on to elaborate on the countless responsibilities of the sports agent, acknowledging that the job has him on call 24/7.
“I’ve been with my girlfriend for two and a half years and I told her from day one: There’s gonna be nights where my phone rings while we’re at the movies and I’m going to leave you there,” he said.
Surin spoke to the students about the role of the agent from the athlete’s point of view. He maintained that the agent must be on top of everything that is going on with the athletes that he or she is representing, recalling an situation in which a company tried to go behind his back to offer a lucrative sponsorship deal to his client.
“It’s a dirty business,” he said. “The agent has to always be in the middle of the athlete and the sponsor.”
Both men finished their presentation by going over the nuts and bolts of the sports agent’s mantra, emphasizing a twenty-four hour work shift coupled with resourcefulness and an encyclopedic knowledge of sports.
“If you are tough psychologically then this is the business for you. I created this company because as a former athlete I knew how involved the agent is, as a confidant and as a coach,” said Surin.

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