How Agent Switch Paved Hellebuyck’s Path to Vezina Finalist
It’s not uncommon for an athlete to thank his agent after signing a lucrative new contract, and Connor Hellebuyck was no exception after agreeing on a six-year, $37-million deal with the Winnipeg Jets.
Hellebuyck’s praise for agent Ray Petkau went well beyond his work negotiating a new contract for a restricted free agent coming off a breakthrough season as a Vezina Trophy Finalist, however.
Hellebuyck pointed to Petkau, and the team introduced to him by Alpha Hockey Inc. after switching agents last summer, as a key to not only his impressive turnaround last season, but also as a reason the Jets and their fans can trust it won’t be a one-off for the 25-year-old goaltender.
“My goal is it to prove it. I’ve always believed in myself and I have the right people around me,” Hellebuyck told reporters in Winnipeg. “I have the right agent, the right organization, the right trainer, and the right goalie coaches to help me succeed. Anytime something falters we know exactly what to fall back on.”
The list of helpers is topped by Jets goaltending coach Wade Flaherty and trainer Adam Francilia, Alpha Hockey Inc.’s director of development and co-founder of the annual NET360 goalie camp Hellebuyck first attended last summer. Hellebuyck began rebuilding his body with Francilia long before the early August camp, and continued that work with Francilia and a group of NHL goalies and players before each ice session once camp started. But as he discusses in the video below after, the NET360 camp experience goes well beyond that, with a collaborative approach from multiple goaltending coaches, meals and support from an organic dietician, and renowned physiotherapist Dan Bos on site each day to treat them:
As Hellebuyck said after signing his new contract, that learning and support doesn’t end when the NET360 camp is over. The in-season support from Alpha Hockey can include Francilia visiting several times to cook and freeze months worth of organic meals, shared insights from coaches, or access to Bos.
“NET360 is specifically one week but it ties into everything we do, there is no real off time,” Hellebuyck said. “It’s always adding pieces and tools and details and workouts, even during the year.”
For Hellebuyck, the biggest new tools over the past year came from Francilia.
~Look for more specifics and exclusive off-ice training tips and videos from Francilia, as well as on-ice drills featuring Hellebuyck, at an all-new InGoal, launching in August.