For New Player Agent Matt Calvert, Avalanche In SCF A Bittersweet Experience

Matt Calvert is a happier and finally healthier man. He has two young, healthy boys and a happy family life with his wife, Courtney. He just started his own player agency – Cal Sports Management – and already has several new clients. But the popular former Colorado Avalanche player, who retired last year with a back problem, admits it was a bittersweet experience to see the Avs advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.

“I’m super jealous that I’m not out there with them. I was sitting in my basement the other night watching them win (Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals) and I was almost in tears,” said Calvert, who played with the Avs from 2018-21 and is admired by teammates and fans for his toughness was very popular and leadership. “But of course it was great to see and I’m really happy for them. I hope to actually get down there for either game 1 or 2.”

Matt Calvert is only 32 years old. But his career was cut short by spinal fusion surgery last season after playing 18 games for the Avs in his third year with the team. Most thought he was going to retire because of the multiple concussions he’d sustained in his three seasons with the Avs, but in fact it was his back that forced him to give up his skates for good.

On March 23 of last year, Calvert warmed up with the Avs for a game in Arizona against the Coyotes. He felt a pang in his back, but didn’t think about it any further. He played the game and felt OK, although he recalls his back deteriorating more after a goal from Arizona’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson. But on the plane back, something in his lower back gave way and he was in a lot of pain. After consulting the doctors, it was determined that he would need spinal fusion surgery. He was told his career was over.

“It was extremely disappointing. It was heartbreaking. I wanted my career to continue for at least a few more years and I wanted to stay with the Avs. We loved Denver so much and the organization. That was the most fun I’ve had in my career. We had the same goal last year of winning the Stanley Cup,” Calvert said. “But I’ve stayed in touch with some people. I am very happy for her. When they came to Winnipeg this year (in Brandon, Manitoba, near where Calvert was born and grew up), I had dinner with the boys. But I admit it was tough watching them play on TV this year. I watched three or four games but it obviously broke my heart to watch and not play.”

It was a tough physical recovery for Calvert, who played 566 games in the NHL with Columbus and Colorado. After the spine fused, he couldn’t really move for three or four months. That was brutal for the go-go-go Calvert. After 10-12 months he was finally able to lead a pretty normal life again – without being a player. It was – and is, he admits – emotionally tough.

But after working as a player development coach with the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings, Calvert decided to try a life as a players agent, alongside his own agent when he was a player, Joe Caliguiri. Just last week they opened their own shop, Cal Sports Management and Calvert said they have already signed some younger players in their development and should sign some established professionals soon.

Calvert wants to be much more than just an agent throwing numbers around at a negotiating table. That will probably be Caligiuri’s task for the time being. What Calvert really wants to do is not just be there emotionally for the players, but actually help them become better players.

“As a player, I’ve been through everything. I understand the grind,” he said. “For me, I even want to get on the ice with players, learn their nuances, pick up on their game. One of my first questions for her would probably be, “How can we make you a better player? What are your weaknesses?’ I think one of the first things a player needs to do is be honest with themselves. Every player will eventually tweet their agent. Why do we pay these fees? I was probably one of the lowest maintenance players when it came to my agent, but a lot of players are on the phone with them all the time and sometimes just complain about Ice Age and stuff. I remember playing with Columbus for John Tortorella, and although I won’t say the word he used, what he basically said was, “If another guy calls his agent for more Ice Age, I’ll personally send you down to the.” Shore me.’”

Matt Calvert said he might be interested in breaking into management at the NHL level one day, but right now, Cal Sports management is a “three to five year build-up.”

“My number one goal in life is my family. But #2 is my agency now,” Matt Calvert said. “For me, I need a mountain in life that I can climb. I can no longer compete as a player, but I can compete in this section now. But we don’t want to get too big, too fast. Some agencies are so big that they cannot devote the necessary time to the players. At the end of the day, many of them are lawyers. For me and Joe, we especially want to be there when they are young and watch them grow. That would, I think, be the most satisfying for both of us.”

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