By Nick Christophers
Most sports fans normally only see the industry on the surface and rarely see the business end of it. One part of the business is the “game” of being an agent to the top players in a given organization. The world of negotiating contracts and solidifying short and long term deals is a maze in of itself. There are a few sports agents who have managed to navigate the ever changing sports industry.
Out of all the professional sports the NHL seems to be the most complex. For agents in that arena, not only have to deal with negotiating contracts but sometimes deal with immigration issues. Since the majority of the players come from overseas that issue sometimes comes into play.
In New York there are three powerhouse teams that are sought after by many agents based on their success stories; The New York Rangers, Buffalo Sabres and the New York Islanders. One agent that has targeted one of those teams is George Bazos.
Since he was a young boy sports always played a big role in his life. His father, Nicholas Bazos, came to America from Greece at fifteen years old and was an avid soccer player who ended up playing for UMASS. George’s father inspired him to be athletic which led to him playing soccer, basketball and baseball. His brother Andy also followed suit. In baseball alone George was named, First Team All-Western Mass. as a first baseman.
Even though George would go on to represent NHL players he never personally played hockey. He attended Tufts University where he studied Economics which would later aide him in the career he chose to pursue. But his upbringing also played a big role in his success.
“I think that my upbringing as a Greek- American has helped me in my business life. Growing up, I learned what it is like to work hard by watching my parents and relatives. My father came to the U.S. with nothing. He did not speak English at the time. He worked hard to put himself through college and then on to a successful career as a stock broker. My father and my mother, Estelle Bazos, then sent myself and my brother (Andrew Bazos, Harvard University) to college.”
After graduating in 1987 George pursued the demanding career of being a sports agent his first taste came in 1990. Prior to that he was hired by PaineWebber Inc. (now UBS Financial Services). While working there he managed to earn various licenses in investment and insurance. He would also go on to be certified by the NHL and the MLB.
He would soon come to represent a player who would become one of the most elite goalies in the NHL. George first met Jonathan Quick when he was a junior at Avon Old Farms, a Prep School. After that he followed him and realized his potential and when he felt it was right he approached Jonathan’s parents. George is best known for his success at the Collective Bargaining Agreement. As Quick’s agent he played a big role in his 10-year, $58 million extension with the LA Kings. Bazos through his own agency, Edge Sports Management made it happen. Most of George’s success is not only due to his education but also his work ethic and fair-play. His working philosophy is what gained him the respect he has in the industry.
He began his own agency along with his partner, Jordan Neumann, in 2008. Since then they have been a driving force in the sports agent game. Along with Quick, George also represents forward, Cam Atkinson, who plays for Columbus and defenseman, Kevin Shatterkirk with the St. Louis Blues and Carolina Hurricanes forward Nathan Gerbe along with many other NHL players.
Currently he represents New York Ranger, Dan Boyle who was recovering from a broken hand. For the first month of the season it was been difficult for Dan who wanted to be out there helping his teammates. George is always there to support his clients whether they are on or off the ice.
“Dan broke a bone in his hand, and it took time to heal. No amount of rehab can speed the process of the bone healing, so that made things difficult. There is nothing I can have done for Dan, except to give him emotional support. I am happy to see him back playing again.”
Usually the busiest time for George is the end of the season when negotiations are up and terms need to be ironed out. The start of the season is a quiet time since usually contracts are already in place. George enjoys working with every player he represents. He admits that hockey players are very humble and hard working. Besides being an agent he also speaks at conferences and has penned a few columns covering amateur and pro hockey. When he is not out breaking the ice with NHL teams he relaxes with his wife and three children in Pound Ridge, New York. To learn more about his agency go to Edge Sports Management.