Report: NHLPA examining relationship between ex-Leafs GM Kyle Dubas and agent for possible violation

Kyle Dubas's agent, Chris Armstrong, isn’t listed as a certified agent by the NHLPA as he primarily represents professional golfers.

The NHL Players’ Association is examining the professional relationship between former Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas and his agent, Chris Armstrong, for a possible violation of the NHLPA’s Regulations Governing Agent Certification, as first reported by Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff.

As per NHLPA regulations, certified agents aren’t allowed to render services for any NHL team employee. Armstrong works for Wasserman, one of the largest sports marketing and talent management companies in North America and is listed as the executive vice president, talent and innovation of its golf vertical. Wasserman also represents Maple Leafs star forward Auston Matthews. Matthews and Dubas were widely reported to have built a strong relationship during their shared tenures with the franchise.

Armstrong was named to Sports Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 in 2021 and like Dubas, is a graduate of Brock University’s sports management program.

The NHLPA is reviewing the relationship between former Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas and his agent. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nick Iwanyshyn)
The NHLPA is reviewing the relationship between former Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas and his agent. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nick Iwanyshyn)

It’s critical to note that Armstrong isn’t listed as a certified agent by the NHLPA as he primarily represents professional golfers, including Tony Finau and Cameron Champ. He isn’t subject to discipline by the NHLPA but it will likely be determined whether he exploited a loophole by working for Dubas while being registered as a golf agent. There is no express written rule at the time that Armstrong can’t work as a hockey agent if the NHLPA cleared his relationship with Dubas.

“This is clearly prohibited under the regulations,” an anonymous agent told Seravalli. “It is an unwritten, understood and longstanding practice that your guy down the hall doesn’t work for the other side. I’d like the NHLPA to launch an investigation and draw their own conclusion.”

The NHLPA’s guidelines for player agent certification reads as follows on its website:

​​Only player agents certified by the National Hockey League Players' Association are permitted to represent players in their dealings with NHL clubs. The NHLPA regulates the conduct of player agents under its Regulations Governing Agent Certification. The Agent Regulations set out the various terms under which agent duties must be performed, and include standards of conduct with which agents must comply. The NHLPA has the power to suspend, restrict, or terminate the certification of any agent for violation of these Agent Regulations.

Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan announced on May 19 that the organization would not renew Dubas’s contract, which expired at the end of the 2022-23 season. Shanahan spoke in candid detail about how he lost confidence in Dubas’s management after the 37-year-old revealed to reporters at the end-of-year media availability that he would consult with his family before making his next decision.