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Prominent NHL player agent gets in blog war…with blogger

Jan 31, 2012, 12:59 PM EDT

cody hodgson getty

Ritch Winter is a sports agent that represents over 70 NHL players through The Sports Corporation. One of his clients, Cody Hodgson, is having a fine rookie season for the Canucks, though there has been some consternation among Vancouver media types about his ice time (or lack thereof.)

This was discussed in a blog appearing on the Vancouver Sun’s website, with the headline “Hodgson seems happy with his icetime (sic); who isn’t?” The piece suggests Winter fed local reporters the requisite ammo to go after Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault — the guy responsible for Hodgson’s (alleged) lack of ice time.

Problem? Said blogger, Daniel Wagner, didn’t reach out to Winter.

Bigger problem? That infuriated Winter.

As such, Winter responded with a 6,400-word missive tearing into Wagner’s piece. An excerpt:

Wagner speculates about the reason for the Vancouver fan and media’s attention to Cody Hodgson’s ice time when he states: “The most likely candidate is Winter, particularly when you consider Gallagher’s comments near the end that Hodgson’s agency group has been ‘way more than patient.’”

In fact, every time Tony [Gallagher, of the Vancouver Province] and I speak I am surprised at how much angst Cody’s ice-time is causing him. In fact, my reaction to his concerns was all Tony was talking about. Nothing more. Nothing less. But, Wagner never called Tony or me to check on that and went on to make a mountain out of a bag of pucks.

Many of the staff at the Vancouver Sun have my number. They know how to reach me. Wagner knows how to find my number. And everyone knows I am accessible to the media. Maybe too much so historically. Instead of calling me, Wagner builds his article off of a theory. A theory I knew nothing about and which could not be true without that being the case. And all of this without calling me. Why? No one knows. I don’t. He never called.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a player agent go public with his grievances (hello, Alan Walsh!) and it probably won’t be the last. That said, we’ve now entered some exciting uncharted territory, skipping over the traditional “Blogger vs. Mainstream Media” battle right into the “Blogger vs. Player Agent” war. Can’t wait to see how this turns out.

Related: Wagner has since posted his response to Winter’s response. We’re two more responses away from Godwin’s law, I can feel it.

  1. yettyskills - Jan 31, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    Bloggers are not journalists, just know-nothing ego maniacs who….
    Oh wait

    No but seriously they are not journalists, it’s 2012, you’re supposed to be a professional Ritch “You should spell your name Rich” Winter

    Smarten up

    • davebabychreturns - Jan 31, 2012 at 3:00 PM

      I don’t know whether bloggers are gaining prominence faster than the print industry is dying, but the bottom line is that Wagner’s original post got a lot of eyes – and for those that failed to interpret it as a work of fiction it painted Hodgson’s camp as petty and selfish. It makes sense to refute that notion now that there is no reason to believe there are problems between the two sides – especially since clowns like Tony Gallagher and Pierre Mcguire are only too happy to speculate whether there are signs of trouble or not.

      Also the comparison to Allan Walsh is kind of funny – Winter took to the internet to refute the notion that he is meddling in a team’s affairs in the way Walsh has gained so much notoriety.

      • davebabychreturns - Jan 31, 2012 at 3:18 PM

        At the end of the day, making blanket statements about “bloggers” and what should be expected of them is foolhardy; sure there are those who don’t feel encumbered by the facts and while hide behind “but I’m just a blogger” like Wagner does in his response (no offense to him intended) but there are also those like Matt Reitz who went out and interviewed Kyle Turris last month or Justin Bourne who has all sorts of connections to pro hockey players or Greg Wyshynski who likes to wax poetic about how bloggers should be given the same type of access as the mainstream media.

        Wagner’s posts now appear on a website of a major Vancouver newspaper, he gets a ton of exposure and in my opinion shouldn’t be surprised to be dealing with the blowback from a post where he played so fast and loose with the truth.

        Personally I enjoyed his original post, I read it as a work of fiction that supposed what might be happening a player’s use and the management philosophy behind it – but they were just that, suppositions. And I can see why those in the article might not have enjoyed it so much.

  2. whatswellydoing - Jan 31, 2012 at 9:21 PM

    Wagner’s response was pretty fair and intelligent. I’m not used to seeing that on the internet.

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