Blue Jackets | NHL coaches' soaring pay a plus for John Tortorella – The Columbus Dispatch

Aaron Portzline The Columbus Dispatch @Aportzline

Neil Glasberg couldn’t suppress a chuckle when he referenced the “old days” in hockey, when NHL clubs and coaches negotiated the coach’s salary with a quick conversation and a handshake.

The funny part?

“By ‘old days,’ I’m talking about 2010,” said Glasberg, the founder and president of PBI Sports and Entertainment based in Toronto. “It’s a whole different world now.”

The salaries of NHL coaches have skyrocketed in recent years, with Toronto’s Mike Babcock ($6.25 million), Chicago’s Joel Quenneville ($6 million) and Montreal’s Claude Julien ($5 million) making as much money as the league’s All-Stars.

The big money has made for more intense negotiations, which has prompted an increasing number of coaches to hire agents. At least 10 of the NHL’s 31 coaches have full-time representatives, including Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella, who is one of Glasberg’s clients.

“It’s more complicated now, more complex,” said Gil Scott, founder and president of Gil Scott Sports Representation, who represented previous Blue Jackets coaches Scott Arniel and Todd Richards. “It’s reached a point where professional advice is pretty helpful.

“There’s also this: GMs and coaches work very closely together. It’s a day-to-day interaction. It can be awkward to be confrontational over a contract with the person you’re directly reporting to in your job. This keeps it cleaner for the guys.”

Tortorella’s situation bears watching. He’s entering the final year of his contract, a five-year, $10 million deal signed with Vancouver in 2013. Since the Blue Jackets hired him in October 2015, they’ve paid only $750,000 of his $2 million annual salary, with the Canucks picking up the rest. In other words, the Blue Jackets have been paying less for their coach than just about any other team in the NHL. Even the $2 million figure puts him only

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