Mike Liut, NHL Goalie & Founder of Octagon Hockey | Life After The NHL | SSP

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Michael Dennis Liut is a Canadian former professional ice hockey goaltender. Liut played for the Cincinnati Stingers of the World Hockey Association (WHA) from 1977 to 1979 and for the St. Louis Blues, Hartford Whalers, and Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League (NHL) from 1979 to 1992. He won the 1981 Lester B. Pearson Award for being the most valuable player according to his fellow players, and posted the league’s best goals against average in 1989–90.

He is the current managing director for Octagon Hockey. Following his 15-year playing career, the Connecticut Hockey Hall of Famer earned his Juris Doctorate from the Detroit College of Law. Today, he is responsible for the negotiation of over $328 million in active NHL contract.

Show Links

https://twitter.com/mike_liut

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Liut

SUCCESS STORY PODCAST

Stories worth telling.

On the Success Story podcast, Scott has candid interviews with execs, celebrities, notable figures and politicians. All who have achieved success through both wins and losses, to learn more about their life, their ideas and insights.

He sits down with leaders and mentors and unpacks their story to help pass those lessons onto others through both experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs and everyone in between.

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Machine Generated Transcript

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

players, NHL, play, career, hockey, people, game, life, world, octagon, sports, individual, retire, stay, athletes, law school, podcast, important, coaches, years

SPEAKERS

Mike Liut,, Scott D Clary

 

Scott D Clary  00:06

Welcome to the success story podcast. I’m your host, Scott Clary. On this podcast I have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, politicians and other notable figures, all who have achieved success through both wins and losses. To learn more about their life, their ideas and their insights, I sit down with leaders and mentors and unpack their story to help pass those lessons on to others through both experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs and everyone in between. Without further ado, another episode of the success story podcast. Thanks again for joining us today I’m sitting down with Mike Liut, who is a former professional, ice hockey goaltender and current Managing Director of octagon hockey. So following his extremely impressive 15 year career, the Connecticut Hockey Hall of Famer earned his Juris Doctorate from Detroit College of Law pivoting from professional ice hockey player to lawyer. Today, he is responsible for the negotiation of over $328 million in active NHL contracts, managing the contracts of some of the most prolific and well known players in the NHL. Mike, thank you so much for joining us, walk me through, starting with where you first started playing hockey where that passion came from all the way through to what you’re doing now at octagon,

 

Mike Liut,  01:31

I played in a little town outside of Toronto in the 60s, and it was called Woodbridge,

 

Scott D Clary  01:38

which is now I know Woodbridge. Yeah, of course, yeah.

 

Mike Liut,  01:42

So it was a town of 3000 people, and maybe we drew from 15,000 People have to Kleinberg, and so forth. But we would have our banquet at the end of the year and the commissioner or beaner, the league sociation, our entry into the OmHa said that education is important. And one out of any gave some denominator, which was rather large make it to the NHL. And I was done. And I remember thinking, well, he didn’t say zero. So. And I think that that’s relatively consistent with players that you know, that they’ve all I think at one point had that conscious at a young age, and maybe, you know, it’s not something that you express and tell the world. It’s just in your heart. Yeah, right, this is gonna do that. And it’s certainly naive. But, I mean, if you can’t dream, right, and that’s sort of the seeds of success, I think you have to come to a point where you, you you decide, this is what I want to do. And whether you actually do it or not, I don’t know. But you certainly try and leave no stone unturned. Obviously, there’s lots of people that fight, and the pyramid gets rather small. But I won’t even go as far as to say self belief. I won’t get into the psychology of it. It’s just something that you do you start in a direction you can you move forward. And along the way, there’s always going to be people who have a significant impact on your career. And likely goes all the way runs the gamut. And I certainly have that when I’m talking to players that I represent have that represented them. And we talk about this process of of moving from Amateur Hockey to Pro to, to making it in the NHL, staying in the NHL. I think it’s a fluke, a part of it is just a fluke. You just had enough good things going on in your life and met enough people that it happened. And I look at coaches and I had a number of coaches. You know, that’s just I don’t know, they believed in you. They saw something in you. They gave you the opportunity or allowed you an opportunity. An opportunity can be fleeting, right? So it’s what you do with it. But you know, I had you know, Ron Mason and I decided to go to college. I had Ron Mason was winds up being one of the advisors when retired. He was the winningest coach in college hockey history. He didn’t recruit me. We kind of found each other. He had a profound effect. I’m playing pro hockey Floyd Smith, I’m in the who he comes up to me and he gives me that Ken thank you then play 70 games, Donnie Edwards played 70 games for me and buffalo, right? play 20 games. and you’re like, oh, I don’t coach, I never played more than 25. But hey, I share like the opportunity. And, you know, that’s, that’s how it works. There’s there’s a significant degree of good fortune, but more importantly, good people that had a major impact on your career. And it just it doesn’t doesn’t stop, right. My, one of my teammates, my first year has passed stable and just passed away. Great, great guy, right? I mean, really understood the game, thought about the game. And, you know, we came from college college, nobody really knew that much about college, even though you know, players like Red Berets, and already played and retired, they, you know, it’s still, for US college hockey was an unknown. Path said to me one day, everybody in hockey will give you a reason why you should fail. It’s just up to you, whether you believe them or not. Nothing could be more true than that. Right? In hockey, we say, players too small, too slow. He’s timid, they come up with every every law that they write, instead of focusing on what they can do. Right, and then deciding whether they can use that. It’s the flaws that jumped out at them. But really, it’s just somebody’s opinion that says, hey, I don’t think you can do it. And if you believe them, you won’t do it. Right. So that’s, that’s been as much for me. What I remember, right, I, I have two conversations with my dad about playing hockey and pro hockey and I, so I graduated from Bowling Green, I’m going to start my pro career. And he, he said to me, I said to him, hey, guess what, if I’m not good enough, I mean, after all, this, what, you know, it just ends, right? When we I want it to start. And his immediate response was, Well, I hope you’re mad enough to look in the mirror and just accept what, what it is, and move on with the rest of your life. Because no matter how good you are, and how long you think you can play hockey, there’s still going to be the rest of your life, you’re not going to do this forever. So it was that, that this is what I want to do, okay, here’s the support, go and do it. Right, and know that you’re going to have to do something else. That’s why you went to school. Right? This is not going to last forever. And you know, that’s all of the all those little pieces that coaches need your parents and teammates that have this, this, they come to you at the right time with the with the right words, to encourage you to remove the anxiety to, you know, allow you to go forward, right, whether it’s void spent opening the door, or my dad saying, Hey, if you don’t make it, okay, a lot of people don’t make it played a long time. Right. And if you don’t make it, or if you do make it, you still have to do the rest of what you’re going to do for the rest of your life. So don’t lose sight of that. And it’s, you know, those are, and to bring that really full circle. You know, I had ruptured discs in my back, it was time, I was going to be 37 My career was over, I knew it. The cost of trying to continue are two great physically, emotionally, family the whole deal. So I said, My dad asked me, he said, Are you going to go to law school? And I was like, wow, I don’t know. God said, you know, if I go to law school, three years, I’m going to be 40. He just died looked at me and said, If you don’t go to law school in three years, how old are you?

 

Scott D Clary  08:56

4040 doesn’t say no.

 

Mike Liut,  09:00

It’s the perspective that, you know, your support group brings. And and here’s the the thing that’s, you know, I love hockey thing. I can’t believe that I survived that law. Right. And it really, to a certain degree, it’s just a matter of

 

Scott D Clary  09:14

the 15 years, right? You’re 15 Yes.

 

Mike Liut,  09:17

You know, and you just just keep going until you can’t go any further. But But here it is. In a nutshell. It’s just like start going do it. I don’t know if you’re going to be successful. Don’t waste your time thinking about it. Just start right. And there’s things in life that I like movies. Finding forester, right. We’re Sean Connery is helping young kids learn to write and he just starts banging on the type. And his whole thing was just start, just start typing, the thoughts will come to you. So just starting your career. I don’t know if this is going to be your career. You’re going to step sideways to move forward. You might have to go back to change direction. It doesn’t matter, just start and, and invest as much as you have to invest in it. Keep working it and keep moving forward. Don’t bother looking writer, keep going forward, move forward. And that’s, and that’s sort of when I look back at it 64, I’m looking backwards saying that’s all it was. I didn’t think that I would be doing what I’m doing now. It was the last thing that I wanted to do. Didn’t want to do. I just happen to fall into a really a great company. A good, very good friend of mine, Brian lot. And it started with octagon, and I’m going to start this hockey division for them with my little fledgling company. And why don’t you do it with me and I was, had been approached by a few players to handle their breach of contract that summer, I just left the PA. Why not? Right, let’s move in here. I thought I’d do a few years. Right? And then I don’t know. And it just one thing marked into another and 22 years later. Now, here we are.

 

Scott D Clary  11:05

You know, it’s a really, it’s a really incredible story. Because I think that a lot of people have, first of all, not a lot of people achieved a level of success in sports in hockey, and you know, and go pro and get paid to do what they love. But then also you you manage transition into a second, a second successful career managing the contracts of why right now I looked at I looked at a Forbes article said 320 million in active NHL contract, I don’t know if that’s gone up or down or whatnot. But you still you’re managing a fair amount of player, player player livelihoods and responsibility there. How did you you know, how did you become How did you transition? So it seems effortlessly but

 

Mike Liut,  11:49

yeah, no, it was it was definitely wasn’t effortless. The at one point, my friends asked my wife if we were still married, because they never saw me with her. So it, it had that. My goal when I retired from playing hockey, my goal strategy was not to take a lot of time off, you know, financially when we’re in that spot, right. So, you know, I met with, again, talking about good now, we just went through a strike, you know, I was very involved with the player Association, when I played for the last six or so years, I found it very interesting. And talking to him, you know, he said, You should go to law school. And he said, If you go to law school and 20 years, you’ll look back on it. And it will be you’ll say, it’s the best thing that I’ve done best decision. And it didn’t take 20 years, I enjoyed the experience. It allowed me to be at home, and still moving forward. So it was a you know, a time when when I had whatever I was going to set aside and you’re not making any money and you’re spending a lot of money. But you know, we had set ourselves up to be able to afford a transition. And, you know, it was again, there’s there’s another individual coming into your life, getting you pointed in a direction. And that’s important. I’ve often said that. I know hockey players, but I would say athletes in general, the same principle the guys who played a long time, right and they reached a reasonable level of success that allows them to play a long time. They can get up every day and they can grind and they can be successful. They can change direction they know understand how to work within an organization when you get out of hockey. The the issue is this. play hockey, you have peewee Bantam midget junior or college. hL hL is a stepping stones are there you just have to follow when you are when you retire. The past is gone. You don’t know where to go. And and it’s the other part to it emotionally is you immediately realize that you no longer belong in that group. Right? That’s an earned decide. You get to play in and when you’re no longer a player, you’re a retired player, you’re a warm up all those good things. But in your heart, you know that you don’t walk through that dressing room door, if that’s not your spot, right? So you’re dealing with all of that and it feels isolating it just to me it felt like I was completely isolated. So it’s important to have something to come back to and and to start moving in a direction for me it was going back to school. There were a few nights reading in the library till 10 o’clock at night where you’re looking at the ceiling and go what have I got myself into. Fortunately, I told enough people that I couldn’t quit I was committed to the, to the program. And, and then it just okay now I’ve got a degree, I graduated, I passed the bar. And now my dad looks at me says, Well, now you got to figure out how to make some money with that degree, it’s not worth much if you can’t do that. So, you know, I was with the Players Association, we’re gonna, you know, we had a grand plan, it didn’t quite work out that way. You know, I didn’t stay with it. But, you know, you keep, you know, this presented itself and you know, when you there’s a door opens, another one might close. But whatever your decision is, it’s a decision that you make where you, I’m going to step forward, and I’m going to make it the right decision. Right, that’s the other piece to it, you can’t look for the right decision, you have to find something that you do you find appealing. And when you step in that direction, for the time that you’re there, you have to, you have to make it a great decision, you have to put your all into it. So it’s not, you know, I have to I have been in school in 16 years, I’m going to go to law school, I have to pass the entrance exam, we all set, I took a course it didn’t make any sense. You know, I was like, whatever. And and it’s all you know, it’s a timed test. Right? It’s, so you don’t have to, and there’s a lot of questions and not much time to answer. And so I would get up every morning, good to go off to school, I would sit down, and I would do an LSAT exam every day for half of it or a third or whatever it was, I forget how it was broken in sections. But I would do a section at a time and make sure that I could answer a section of questions within the allotted time. And I did it every day for probably a month or two. And on the way, until I you start to you know, you get your rhythm, you get your rhythm in terms of the cadence of answering questions, you get a feel for the type of questions and where your weaknesses are. And that’s just preparation. So, you know, it’s, it’s like, everything was a book, everything I learned, I learned, you know, everything I learned in life you learn as before you’re five or something like that. There’s like everything I know, you know, in life I learned when I was by the time to whatever, right through hockey. So same license transfer, you tasted good experiences and you build upon.

 

Scott D Clary  17:32

And then after after that, so you know you have your JD, you never actually did you ever practice law to just go right into managing and I guess a lot of the contracts actually could require some legal revision or whatnot or super. So did you?

 

Mike Liut,  17:46

Yeah, I, I stayed with the Players Association. So I was working part time with the player Association. While I was going to school, I was teaching at Michigan as a volunteer goalie coach, which was a lot of fun, but we have just a hobby. And then after graduation, or writing the bar that I stayed with a PA, you know, did a lot of distance work working from home, the things that we’re doing now. And then, you know, a couple years after that I was I started to leave the PA and then that was the choice, right? So and I didn’t have a choice. I could have said I could have practice law in earnest. And, and looking back on it. It’s the one thing that in a way I wish I had, right. So when I have a young person, all their contact me Hello, every context. It says, I’m going to law school, I want to be a player agent. And I’m telling him, it’s an end game. It’s not the beginning, he went to law school to be a lawyer. Now that you have your you pass the bar exam, now go be a lawyer because when you pass the bar exam, you have all this black layer law, but you don’t know how to do it. And you have to learn how to execute as a lawyer. And I tell them to go find the most complicated involve law from the who work for and dive into it and put your 80 hours in every or whatever it is, every week and really grind through at the end of five years. You want to make a lateral move in another direction that you can make that decision at that time. But first, develop some skills outside of you went to law school, you pass the bar exam, okay, you’re a smart enough person now to develop some skills and experience. And then if you want to come to the sports in general, actually, then then fine, but in sports is essentially it’s a bit of a dead end world. Like it’s here. And you know, where do you go from here? I think there is something after a sports career manager, whatever, if you’ve got a skill set coming into it. So that’s my advice. I would have liked to have done it. I started representing players you know Two years after law school again, it was it just something I started I had the background for it with everything that I’ve done playing the player associate wants to approximate a little bit. And then I moved into representing these players and then within octagon I want to having the opportunity to do a few other things. We had the lockout No 405 I was participating in other areas using my law degree and, and then eventually started managing the hockey division we, we expanded it we were in a good position because of the stability of octagon. We were Alan Walsh joined us then shortly after that, you know, we kept expanding adding to other players with him or Colette and Andy Scott, and we’re growing our our team. And then Ben Hankinson joined us Chris McAlpine with another agency and, you know, we just you know, so you know, your successes is a lot of hard work, it took a lot of years to get there, it took Law School took a couple years, as a player association took a handful of years to build up a practice. And along the way, you know, the fortune of having the opportunity with octagon, having the bandwidth to add additional agents and very quickly expand a footprint from you know, you know, 10 ball players with Brian lot into 100 players with with octagon and then NC attrition and a lot of our we have a mature clientele it goes up, it goes down. But you know, we’ve built we’ve had a chance to build an organization that has a significant impact in the National Hockey League. And, and, and our clients. And, you know, so our philosophy, if you will is, is that we’re enjoying their careers, both on and off the ice, not on the ice, but their, their side of their hockey, you know, because it’s important for players to athletes come into professional sports, there’s going to have a number of great things come their way, including, it’s going to be very lucrative, but the key is what you leave the game with, that’s critical, because they’re they regardless of how much money they make, and there’s far more much, much more money in the game now than there was we played and they can retire. The problem is they’re so good at what they do. They’re so used to being in the saddle and being in control and having a material impact. They’re not just gonna ride off in the sunset and say, Okay, I’m gonna do nothing, I’m 37 years old, and I’m retired, never going to happen, right? There’s, they’re gonna have to do something. So we know, if they have enough money, that’s fine. They can transition if they don’t have enough money, they’re going to have to create another another career. And, and that’s, that’s been a big part of our success.

 

Scott D Clary  23:24

And I was I was I’m curious now as as a as an agent and managing all these careers. What are some of the largest challenges that you have with the players or the players experience in their careers?

 

Mike Liut,  23:36

Well, you know, it can run the gamut. Right? I mean, there’s certainly it’s established themselves, I mean, players who have, you know, Patrick line, he steps into the National Hockey League. You know, he scores 80 goals in two years. Right. I mean, that’s, you know, there’s the, his, his issues are, you know, his career is going to establish these on his way, there’s so many more players that, that have to learn the process and sort of walking them through the, you know, the tough parts, the rough parts, and maybe they have to change the way they play the game. I mean, everybody comes to pro hockey is coming with a degree of talent. They were the better players at the level they played below the NHL. So that doesn’t mean that there’s going to be a toxic for they’re not going to necessarily play on the powerplay, they’re going to have to adjust. You know, that’s, that’s one of them. And one of the issues that that, you know, derail a career then, and he’s a top 10 score, and, you know, his career is off and running. And, you know, they’re multi generational, but, you know, you’re not concerned too much with they’re on ice. You know, then everybody’s off ice. You know, they have challenges where we think that they’re adults. Right, they look like adults make money like adults, but they’re still kids. And they have the issues that, you know, decisions and everything else that kids making. So you’re, you’re, you’re always managing that piece of it, right, they’re going to go through, you know, the 2223 24, they’re, they’re doing adult things, right, they’re buying homes, are, they’re, you know, they’re, you know, paying for colleges and things of that nature and getting them to understand making them financially savvy is is important, right, they have to, they have to understand the, that this is not going to be forever, that, you know, you’re you’re making X on your contract, you’re not making that number you, your partners, the government is taking a chunk out of it. And, and this is what it’s going to cost when you’re, you know, to get through your life. And then, and they understand that or it comes becomes more clear when they when they approach retirement, when they can see that this is going to end. And then they’ve got three children, they start adding up the cost of education and all of these things. And I always tell him, You have no idea how much money you’re going to spend from 35 to 55, raising your kids, right, and you just you just can’t put your head around. So that’s the gamut of you know, of course, can get into married guys, unfortunately, divorced. I mean, there’s all there’s trauma in their life, right?

 

Scott D Clary  26:38

There’s just so much. They’re so young, I think that’s like the thing that I’m pulling from this, like, they’re just so young, and they have to make all these cute, but that’s, that’s what the most professional athletes like you see that quite a bit, like financial issues and whatnot, when they retire.

 

Mike Liut,  26:51

They’re they they’re forced very quickly, right? They grow up. They step on the ice, and they look like adults. Yeah, like, in control of their world. And step off the ice or off the field or court. You know, they’re kids, they’re very quickly, you can see that they’re, and they’re mature individuals, but they’re 22, right, they just have the experience, you know, to manage the things that they will be exposed to. And then of course, you’re now we’re in the world of branding, and, you know, players, social media, and all of that, that can be good and bad. And you’re really just trying to, you know, I want to say is this your surrogate parent, right? You want them to experience life, make mistakes, just not make too big mistakes? No, that’s sort of the job.

 

Scott D Clary  27:50

Now, now what now? I just have a couple more, I guess, questions related to like the industry and the state of the industry? Because you’re so involved in it. What do you see happening with the current pandemic with the way we can’t go into stadiums anymore? And arenas and, and watch a game? Do you think do you think that there’s going to be major disruption? Or Is there plans to find, you know, come to some sort of a way to keep business working in the interim? What’s What’s your take on that?

 

Mike Liut,  28:21

The pandemic is an unknown, right? I mean, your medical personnel with don’t wear a mask now it is a mask he doesn’t. And this This is so novel that that no, we’re everybody is guessing it. That’s how to handle it. What’s going to exasperated how to propel it. And, you know, in the world of professional sports, as long as they’re telling us we have two and six feet apart from each other, it’s very hard for me to envision how we’re going to sit shoulder to shoulder with each other and watch a hockey or any any sport. Yeah, it’s it, we’re in a we’re in a moment where there’s, you know, uncertainty is an understatement. Of course, we’re gonna be buoyed by the amount of money being drawn at vaccines and therapeutics and of brilliant people in the world and, and the more they wrestle with it. You know, we’re counting on them being able to control this. I don’t know what control means, but I think that we have to have the security that we can go to that. Not likely get sick. We do get sick, treatable, out of the hospital,

 

Scott D Clary  29:52

and do you think the players can play even like,

 

Mike Liut,  29:56

I think I need to Well, I think the players to play The proposed NHL conclusion to the 1920 season that they can do, right? If they can get the players into the bubble. And everybody is free of COVID players can stay in the bubble. Then Logically, if they don’t let anybody else in the bubble, they should be okay. Can you do that for a season, I have my doubts. But you may have to start next season later in the year, December, January, and start without fans. Know, if we’re on the edge of moving in that direction, much like they’ve done this, you know, in our state, I’m in Michigan, right? They we had some, you know, we’re on the front end of it, there was New York, our airport is heavily traveled internationally. And I think we probably got it from both sides of the world. And at one point, the county that I live in Oakland County had more cases than 31 other states, and that it was great here. So the governor, I think, did a great job. Guessing, of course, drawing the line in different spots, but shepherding the state through a crisis, to the point where now we’re starting to open up, you know, we’re still fluctuating, we still, you know, there’s still layers on the western side of the state. Is it the eastern side of the state with Detroit first. And I think that’ll be very much like the NHL, we may have to start next year without fans, but hoping that, that Canada’s way ahead of the United States in terms of their management. And we have to get to a point where we slowly move in a direction that by the end of whatever the next year, or whenever the end is that we maybe we have more and more fans, and we’re, we’re fully occupied when it gets to the playoffs. So, you know, I think that’s probably a best case scenario. And it’s going to be difficult to thread that needle. But you know, there’s there’s many businesses that are in that, in that same as hospitality, it’s entertainment, it’s airlines, we’re all we’re all going to be fine when we get to that same spot.

 

Scott D Clary  32:25

And and I guess the last thing, I want to ask you sort of some insight questions as to you know, what you’ve learned over your career, but before I sort of pivot back away from NHL, you know, octagon? What, what are you personally curious about in the world of of NHL, hockey, where the industry is going, and it could be pretty COVID. But are there any trends that you see taking off any things that’s changing to the game that you’re interested in right now, or that’s relevant?

 

Mike Liut,  32:58

I think that I’m very fond of saying the more things change, the more they stay the same, and that we’ve changed a lot of the labels in the game. But the game is still five individuals against five individuals and a goalie at either end. And the game is very much about, I’m going to suppress your will with my will, that piece of the game is never going to change that is the essence of sports, of competition. We have moved in a direction of trying to explain what people that have been in the game see, right, and that is people who can control the fox who can you can see the shift in the momentum of the game. And when you look at a team like St. Louis last year, when they win the Stanley Cup, it was just a freight train. I mean, they were there wasn’t anything special. You wouldn’t say that they overpower teams offensively. But they played a very coordinated game inspired game, and a selfless game, and their spirit matched or suppressed everybody else, they came away the winner and closely tested file. We’re going to try to we’ve tried to explain that through analytics, which is terrific. I think analytics can open some suggestions, refine the game and make it a little bit. It’s certainly more interesting, and I think it’s the health it isn’t the entire budget. Or the question is not entirely answered by analytics or even it’s just it’s part of where analytics for me takes on a more meaningful and the end in a game like hockey with when it is so fluid. That is if they can perfect The players relationship to the fight, right. So chip in a buck chip in your jersey, they understand where you are in tracking it. And, and they’re, I think that the data that you will mind from that ability will be, will help the game improve, it’ll help players understand their deficiencies. Coaches appreciate what they’re not doing, structurally. And you know, it’s another layer of, for the fans to enjoy, right, it’s more interactive on a level where the real time, you know, because I can see TV screens with all sorts of data on them, you know, we’re in relationship with that. And, and I’ll give you a quick example. We would say puck possession, you know, analysts came up with Puck was can control the puck, you have a greater chance of winning the game? Really? Thanks test, we always knew that, right? There’s no, there’s no, there’s nothing. But if you’re going to start putting a clock on somebody controlling the soccer, Puck possession, if they’re, they’re controlling the puck along the boards, that might be useless, right? Because you have to control the puck in the middle of the ice. So those are the things that you that I look for analytics to become more informative, more accurate, and better. Explanation of the game,

 

Scott D Clary  36:37

and that’s starting to be some that’s something that that is being incorporated more and more into, into the I guess, the training strategy, or even like that you mentioned, like the the data points that fans can engage in, so that they put these up on screen now. And they use them in our children.

 

Mike Liut,  36:54

You know, there’s no, once you have, I think you’re going to continue to see that I think there’s going to be more interactive play, you know, beyond gambling, right, I’m going to be the next one. But I think it’s it’s interactive in the sense of explaining and getting people to understand the game of what’s really going on. And you know that that’s technology. And yeah, that in other areas of players with, you know, wearable technology, right, so there’s once you know, if you get into a situation where you’re monitoring a player, hey, you can look at it as a negative, or you look at as positive, I think that I went through my career. At the end of it, we didn’t have water in the next. So you’re a goalie in the team didn’t take a penalty against, you know, you didn’t have a chance to go to the bathroom, get a shot of water, right, which is lunacy, they’re gonna go play 45 minutes, and not reflect any of the fluids that you’re leaking. So the you know, wearables goes to that, right? And then they can monitor so by want to make was, at the end of my career, we had a nutritionist come in Washington, and they replied, It was mid season pass 50% of the season was overnight. So we have a consultation with her and she said, your red blood cells are low, you’re anemic, you’re dehydrated. And I went, yeah. Okay. Are you okay? And I, this is how I feel, right? This is how I am, as always, oh, I am in February. And she’s looking at me like I should fall over. So monitoring those things. Teams in the west coast have had sleep coach, if you want to do something that’s monitoring your sleep patterns, your your jetlag, and nutrition, and all of those things, how much you’re working, how much you’re, you know, where you are, and your fatigue level? And do you need to practice for 40 minutes or 20 minutes? Or have a day off? Are you right? We used to say you can play yourself out of shape, right? He’s just playing the game to actually down the game slow down. I don’t know how it happens. lawyer, not a doctor is not a biologist, I don’t understand this stuff. I just tell you that, you know, you get to a point where you say I feel like I’m out of shape. Now they can they monitor that I see it as a huge advantage for players. If they’re, you know, they, they should never be afraid and stuff like that.

 

Scott D Clary  39:26

That’s very interesting. I just love getting insight as to where like a whole industry is going in, and the tech that they’re going to be using so that you thank you for you know, highlighting that. Because that’s a lot of fun to sort of understand and and interpret how that’s going to change the game and not just change the game but like augment is probably a better word than then change. Okay, ask some questions just to sort of tee up your life experience in your career.

 

Mike Liut,  39:51

So you sort of touched

 

Scott D Clary  39:54

on this before, but what would be some advice that you would give somebody wanted to go into a career like yours? It could be, I would say somebody who wants to focus after, after they retire, or they just want to go into sports management. You mentioned it before, but just highlight that again.

 

Mike Liut,  40:14

Well, I, you know, I think if you’re an athlete, I really think that you know, you’re going to stay in coaching, or you’re going to work your way into management or scouting, that’s fine. I’m you, you have the requisite background for that. But young kids are coming out of college, and they’re going to go to law school or business school, I still say, you have to go and acquire skills, develop skills, acquire experience, away from sports, and, and then bring those skills back to sports. And, you know, the best example is you look at commissioners of the various team sport athletes, and they’re all they all lawyers, but they’re, you know, they had a career, they had another career, we brought those skills to the job that they currently have. You’re a lawyer, you can wind up being general counsel for an entertainment company that has a baseball pocket. But to jump into sports, is limiting. So it’s a it’s a very small business, right? Ticket sales and sponsorships. We have advertised, it touches on everything, but it’s, it’s a small business. Right? So your experiences are limited? And great job, right? I mean, it’s something that’s attractive because people identify with it. But there’s, there’s, you know, depending on what your your goals are, in your career is, and you have to look at it that way, you have to say, Okay, I’m going to, I’m going to move in this direction. Is this a career? Right? And if it’s not a career, where do I go from here? What skills am I going to develop? In this job? What experiences am I going to have? And where am I going to take that next? Or do I run this up the ladder? And I’m the president of the club. So essentially, it’s a process being successful, is the amalgamation yours, right? And you’re, you’re not going to go, you know, from zero to the top of the chart. And, you know, the, when we look at athletes come on and do your college and they start the NHL, right, there’s only one way or just one way to go from there, and that’s down and they may and either you stick or if you can’t, and then you go, you’re going the wrong direction. So when you miss a step, right, that’s when, you know, trouble is on the horizon, or naturally on the same and developing your business. Right, you’re up they say what we rise to our level of competency, if your your rise too quickly, I would think that the fall will be great. And you know, so, you know, I come back to developing players. Our athletes develop into their careers, so do sort of everybody else, every individual in their, in their own endeavors process.

 

Scott D Clary  43:30

What what is a common myth about playing professional sports that should be debunked?

 

Mike Liut,  43:37

It’s a pretty great life. I don’t know if there’s anything that I would do, but it’s not easy. But it isn’t always as glamorous, you know, when you look at the numbers that people put up, and of course, you’re always focusing on on the most successful or the highest paid individuals. But, you know, that’s the top of the chart and professional sports leagues, and even amateur or not amateur, individual sports. Have a series, you know, maybe minority of players where it isn’t anything like that, that they’re, they’re doing well, they’re, they’re moving forward, they’re going to have to have a second career. And it’s a grind. It’s, as I said, it’s survival. You look back on it, and you say, you know, I can’t believe I survived that long. But so it’s the idea that it’s always about the celebrity. And the celebrity for the very best players is definitely a two edged sword. Right, the more most successful people you know, they essentially have limited private life because they’re so recognizable. And for the players who don’t rise to that level They, they’ll have their anonymity but it is more of a grind. You know, it’s you know, you’re an individual sport player golfer, a tennis player you’re trying to make in the world you have no team, you know you’re traveling by yourself or your small entourage you really can’t afford a big entourage cannot stand in the best place if you don’t have that. The capital behind you. So it’s it is that idea that it is the you know, we focus on the celebrity and the and the money and we forget that there’s a majority that players are not falling into that.

 

Scott D Clary  45:37

What, who, or who rather, are three of the most influential people in your life?

 

Mike Liut,  45:42

Are you know, I mean, I think everybody says their parents

 

Scott D Clary  45:52

should say everyone does, but it’s okay. It’s a good answer.

 

Mike Liut,  45:55

But it happens to be I will say this, it’s sad when that is true. Right. I think it’s really important that that is one of the or they are one of the most influential and really the most influential. It’s always going to be the people who have influence on your life with the people who rated or become intermittently or, or consistently part of your support. For an athlete, you can’t get away from the coaches. I learned from the coaches that I have. I had a coach I plagiarized 15 years old, I wanted to go to college that became sort of a focus I was playing for the trawl Marley’s where the major 18 I was playing for Markham, the junior beaching that was a graduate program. I wasn’t ready to make that decision. If I had stayed with Markham. I would have been pressured to do that the coach of Markham even though I was going to be the starting goalie that year, Bill White suggested I go play in Dixie. Right. He was looking out for my best interest. I learned something about helplessness there. I played for Joe Scanlon and Dixie, and he was really tough. Right. And he just didn’t accept it. Right. Like you’re the tough game and you played tough. I went to Ron Mason and Ron at Bowling Green was was Yeah, yeah, you’re doing really great here using pro hockey easy. I think you’re ready for Bobby He went, I got drafted after my junior year, the draft would be 20. And I went to talk to him about it. And he gave me 15 minutes litany about how I wasn’t prepared and why I wasn’t. And that pro hockey is X, Y and Z and, and he had played in Peterborough in the Montreal Canadian organization. And, and it was a very sobering moment. But it was that, you know, reality check. He told me what I needed to hear, not what I wanted to hear. And then, you know, with Boyd Smith signs may comes in and just like, here it is, it’s your second urine, it gives me the range. And, you know, he showed a lot of content, and you know, it, it flows that way. So I did read parents and I say Barkley Flager I tech sevens in Hartford, for sure. I learned a lot from from them, you know, individually, or rather, each individual imparted something that I could make. Yeah. You know, so it isn’t. You know, for me, it’s never really been about into an individual or three individuals. You know, Rick Dudley, in Cincinnati, staple in Cincinnati. They’re just different people that came into my life, when I was in that for me to build my format of professional yours. And even on the way out, right? We’re no, Bob. Good. Now, I mean, you need that you have to have a support group, right? I think every successful person has that group of people, whether it’s three people or it’s, it’s clusters of people, it’s always been the clusters outside of my parents. Beyond that smaller cluster, it was a cluster of five or seven and a cluster of four or five over here. And, you know, the rest is up to the individual.

 

Scott D Clary  49:28

And what are some what are some resources, books, podcasts, whatever you you know, whatever you enjoy consuming, that of that has helped you along the way

 

Mike Liut,  49:37

while going to law school, but

 

Scott D Clary  49:42

a lot of that’s it, that’s a good one.

 

Mike Liut,  49:45

And it also destroys your interest in reading when you’re done with that program, because that’s five pages or 10 pages an hour. That’s the most you can absorb. So if that was a grind, but I did I liked that The experience was, was great, I think that, that studying law should be more incorporated the basic idea of studying law and the Socratic method to be incorporated, even though we’re losing it at most law schools should be incorporated in undergraduate. or below, I think it’s just linear thinking and the ability to pull yourself back and consider all of the arguments or develop the idea of two competing thoughts in your head at the same time. That was, you know, after, you know, playing hockey is, you know, talking to grind, you get get dumped into it, and you don’t, you don’t see much of the world, right, from September to wherever you finish. And, and then there’s the summer you try to enjoy whatever free time you have, and then you’re back at it. And after 15 years, I just felt like, I was a full mush. And so law school was, you know, a moment to re educate myself. And, and after that, I like history, right? So I like reading about individuals in history and moments in time, even if it’s, if it’s a historical, and I must say, quite a historical fiction, it isn’t history, historical, but there’s lots of blanks. Until then, so. You know, I think, really, so you’re really reading about individuals, right. And that’s something that I, you know, I’ve enjoyed doing, it’s more than pleasure on getting something out of it. I took a negotiating workshop, you know, last picket when it was probably November, December 2019, right. So, it was, I did it for a variety of reasons. One of which was, you know, from a corporate standpoint, were considering I was going through the experience, but I learned I actually learned a lot and I was crystallized some moments and things that you naturally do and identify some things that you’re naturally weak at. So the, the idea is that you’re meant to learn. It can be formal, in an education, informal, and just things that you are interested in, and you try to learn from it. Right. And, and, and you’re always looking to improve on your skill set. So I go back to, hey, you got some formal training about going, you know, find some experience and develop skills, perfect, and under, really understand what you can and can’t do. play to your strengths.

 

Scott D Clary  52:50

And then just one lesson that you would tell your younger self,

 

Mike Liut,  52:56

my younger self, yeah, my younger son, I said, I already told him everything.

 

Scott D Clary  53:00

Oh, you get that? Oh, you know what, he dropped the tell them the same lesson. But

 

Mike Liut,  53:06

I would tell a younger self not to be deterred by the adversity, right, you’re going to get knocked down. And we all know that, you know, it’s the it’s not whether you get knocked down, but whether you get up every time you do get knocked down. It knocks a chunk off. Yeah. Right. And, and I would say that there are moments in my career, both on the ice and off the ice were negative experiences. Some times there’s a residual effect that you don’t shake off. And I would, I would say that no matter how bad the experience, find something good from it, and never think about it again, and never let it deter you from being aggressive, or, or, you know, shying away from that same opportunity, right, look for where, you know, essentially, you’re going to have some bad experiences, right? You’re going to lose, right? And and wherever that loss occurs. Go back at that same issue. Right? Do it until you when we, we can do we tend to shy away from that we’re, we’re not sure we want to go and challenge ourselves again.

 

Scott D Clary  54:19

Um, and the last the last question. What does what does success mean

 

Mike Liut,  54:26

to you? Well, you know, you know, let’s get money on the table. Right? This money makes the world go round. So I’m not going to give you a theoretical answer and have somebody say, man, it’s really about money isn’t okay. So let’s put that out there. But it’s, it is the very much like, people talk about retirement right, you’re gonna retire and just do nothing and play golf on their path to find whatever your hobby is. You know, and and, you know, they’re afraid of that, right? It’s about doing something that’s meaningful. It’s important, impactful, right? Even a little bit. And it doesn’t have to be money, right to be no money, philanthropic. So I think being successful is looking back and saying I had an impact on that. Now, you know, you’re always gonna say, well, I could have been more impactful. Sure. Sure. Yeah, we understand that. But, but at least, you know, you left a mark, people have an opinion of you, people know, you were there. And, you know, for me, that’s, that’s success. Right? You can achieve that level. And I think, all equates to this when you’re young athlete, and you’re asked to go and see somebody might not be well might be really stuck. Might even be, you know, just a meeting with somebody. And when you’re 23 or five, you just you’re not always going to make the right decision. Right. And you’re not going to thank for that this is important. And it’s important, right? The impact that we have on people, not just athletes, anybody, you do something nice for somebody, you don’t understand the depth of that impact. Right, when you’re a young person. I mean, I certainly do now, but nobody know, you know, you don’t have that opportunity. Right? So is, you know, that goes with it, I think you look back on your life and say, I’m really glad I did that, I’m really glad to put myself out there, I know that I can understand why that would have an impact. Now, I got a little bit of that when my father passed away, my mother received a few letters for some young kids that were around our age, you know, that my dad had taken some time to help them in a variety of ways, summer jobs, or just some advice from when they were going through some tough times. And that they remembered it, you know, 30 years on, right. So and, you know, that sort of drove the point home as well. You know, your, your influence on people you may never fully understand, but understand that you do have an influence on people. You know, make it make it

 

Scott D Clary  57:28

very good. Um, so I don’t have any other any other questions. I guess to sort of wrap up, I just want to ask where people connect with you online or learn more about octagon? Are there any places?

 

Mike Liut,  57:41

Yeah, well, I mean, octagon website octagon.com. We have talk on hockey, on our Instagram and Twitter site. I am not on social media. And probably with good reason. It was it was more very quickly to politics, religion and everything, but it’s just a pot I choose not to step into. But the you know, we’re, we’re accessible. I mean, you know, we’re online with the NHL, Pa email addresses, you know, are there.

 

Scott D Clary  58:29

Okay, good. No, that’s all. That’s all I got. That’s all I got. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it, Mike.

 

Mike Liut,  58:35

Yeah, sure.

 

Scott D Clary  58:38

Did you was that? Did you enjoy it? Was there anything that you that you didn’t like? I thought it was all good.

 

Mike Liut,  58:43

Yeah, no, I enjoyed it. Yeah, I think it’s, it’s an interesting, you know, I do do a lot of it. Part of our role, my role is more, because of my age. And my clients have gotten older that I almost call them, you know, we’re talking post hockey, you know, advice on, whatever, you know, just the things that we’re talking about, whether it’s staying in hockey or branching out, going back to school. Yeah. You know, and it’s strategizing how they can take that next step. And they’re, so it’s, you know, I find that important to pay it forward. I had that. I mean, the guys that I mentioned, you know, they, they had a profound effect, right. I mean, they just, you know, they just did what they said how they treated us, you know, some of the lessons that, you know, I had the good fortune to know, you know, in playing St. Louis mom was unusual. And of course, playing against him was Gordie Howe. And then the same generation. They’re exactly the same individual, right, in the sports content. You know, Stan, you know, I met through my inlaws my father in law. You know, he just he just couldn’t be a more humble individual. And I know superficially, but I remember my father in law died prematurely. About two years after that we happen to be playing at a golf tournament. At the same time, somebody had mentioned to me that Stan was there. And I said, I’m going to go off. I’m just going to go up and introduce myself. You know, Dave, remember me, you know, but Donald, and I’m walking towards, you know, the pro shop where it was firsthand, and I can see him coming to the jerky motion. And Eddings when he’s walking, he’s walking towards me, right? I’m looking over my shoulder. Who’s he going? There? Isn’t anybody behind me? And Stan was, you know, hey, say what do you say? Right? And he comes right up to me, and he wanted to know how my mother was doing. Right. So this is usually that shoe. Okay, I’m in the ballpark. And St. Louis and, and, and, and Gordy was very much like that, like, you’re playing your player. And then the word got around with the older guys, you know, this is the player who keeps his mouth shut, he does his job. And and Gauri always feeds me, I got to know body a little bit better, because I play with Marty, and in Hartford and Gordy was around. And, you know, there were they were, they were impactful. There was, you know, I won’t say role models, they were just like you, you watch them operate and say, Okay, right, there was no error about them. Right? These are two of the biggest names in their respective sports. And they were just dice. Right? They were just part of the group. So that’s where, you know, you know, your actions do most people even inadvertent? Right, indirectly. So there are a lot of really good moments like that. And in my career, right, so it’s natural. You know, I, it’s important to me, I think it’s important to the next generation. They may not think so that’s their prerogative, but you’re still going to try. This has been fun.

 

Scott D Clary  1:02:15

No, I appreciate that. A lot of really, really good lessons. I was really happy with it. And you know, You’ve obviously done a lot of your career you have a lot of really great wisdom and insight to share over so I’m happy that this Thank you.

 

Mike Liut,  1:02:29

Yeah, real good. got in touch. I look forward to

 

Scott D Clary  1:02:32

the stay in touch. Yeah. When whenever it will, I’ll I’ll fly you when this is going live. I have a couple backlog. So I have to just plan them out when they’re going to be published. But I’ll keep you in the loop, of course. And now hopefully, this lockdown will be over sooner than later.

 

Mike Liut,  1:02:48

Yeah, yeah. Well, I hope so. But yeah, it is what it is. You know, we don’t control it. We just, yeah. Yeah. All right. All right.

 

Scott D Clary  1:02:59

Take care. We’ll talk soon stay healthy.

 

Mike Liut,  1:03:01

You to bye later. That’s all for today.

 

Scott D Clary  1:03:16

Thanks again for joining me on another episode of the success story podcast. You can download or stream this podcast wherever podcasts are available, including iTunes, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, I heart, radio, and many others. You can also watch his podcasts on YouTube. If you haven’t already. Please subscribe and share this podcast with your friends, family, coworkers and peers. Please leave us a rating on iTunes takes about 30 seconds as it allows other people to find our podcasts and lets our amazing guests reach even more people with their message. And remember any rating is fine as long as it contains five stars. I’m Scott Clary from the success story podcast, signing off.

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