Beyond the Ice: What’s priority for players in the NHL off-season?

Hockey playoffs: it’s an exciting time, but it’s also a time for many teams and players to head into the off-season. So what happens for players when their season is over? We interviewed Kent Manderville to find the answer. Kent Manderville is a former NHL player with 16 years under his belt; he’s also Director of the IP Hockey Family Office.

The full conversation can be found on the IP360° Podcast.

IP360°: Tell us a little bit about what’s going on for players through the playoff season.

Kent: This is the time of year where guys just put the blinders on. It’s basically a game day or off day…and that’s a wonderful thing. As a team on a roll in playoffs, you thrive off the energy through game days…then on off days, you’re having some wine and a nice meal, and you relax. On the game days, it’s all business and you’re just saving it all for the games.

And then the games are just this intense, no-holds-barred moment where you bring everything out on the ice. It’s like gladiator-style hockey. Then after the game, it’s back to conserving energy; then you rinse, repeat, and away you go.

IP360°: Is it hard to turn it on and off for each game, or are players just tired?

Kent: It’s hard to gear down after a big game, no question. But I think that’s where that rest day becomes so important. You really allow yourself mentally and physically just to relax. And this is where family support comes in. My wife is amazing. [When I was in the playoffs] she took the kids and made sure I got enough sleep because that becomes so important. It really becomes a whole household thing; you really get into a rhythm.

I have to say the hardest thing is when you lose–I never won the Stanley Cup–and it’s that feeling of almost a ‘mini retirement’. During the end of season you’re in the groove, and every day is important…and then nothing.

IP360° What’s it like when your season comes to an end?

You’re a little bit like Wile E Coyote, suspended out over the cliff in that minute before he goes down. And just like him, you’re looking around and you’re thinking, “Yeah, I don’t have to be at the rink.” It goes from full-intensity hockey, to having endless free time. And mentally it’s very hard. You wake up the next day and you have your clean out the locker room, you’ve got media availability sessions, and then you start making plans for maybe taking a trip with other guys or your family.

IP360°: Post-season, there’s bound to be a lot of tasks that got ignored throughout the season. Is the off-season a time where guys need to refocus on life off the ice?

Kent: Yeah, absolutely. There’s no question that it’s easy to kick the can down the road. There’s things that you need to address, whether it’s taxes, estate planning, cash flow, etc. And what’s this going to look like? What do I look at next? What am I going to do in retirement? What am I going to do in transition? Sowing those seeds when you’re still playing is the time to do it.

IP360° Why don’t players prepare better for life beyond the ice?

Kent: It’s so easy to do that work; but the problem is, it’s easy not to do it. It’s easy to throw yourself into training, or throw yourself into family, deal with that immediate need versus looking long term where you really your focus should be. It’s a matter of discipline; it’s a matter of having the right people to get you on track. It’s also about knowing where to start and what questions to ask.

IP360°: Where do you even start, as a hockey player? Who do you know, and who do you trust?

Kent: The answer is, it’s all about your team…but not your hockey team. It’s your financial advisor. It’s your accountant. It’s your estate attorney, it’s your insurance person or risk management person. It’s your board of advisors who will help to identify what needs to be addressed.

Your off-the-ice team provides discipline. Guys have discipline within the context of their career, because you can’t last in the NHL without discipline. It takes too much training, nutrition, sleep, skill development, all these things. Anybody who plays any substantial amount of time in the NHL has discipline. The question is, do you have discipline on the things that matter off the ice? Some guys do, and some guys don’t.

What is the IP Hockey Family Office?

IP Hockey Family office is a wealth management firm devoted to the career and financial wellbeing of hockey professionals. Our ‘family office’ model is designed to get all your advisors working collaboratively so that you end up with one clear gameplan. Our director, former NHLer Kent Manderville, ensures that each plan takes into account the unique nature of your hockey career and earnings, ensuring that your personal, athletic, and post-hockey goals are included in your wealth planning process. Learn more here.

IP360° Through your own NHL career you showed great discipline: you put yourself through school at Cornell in the off-seasons, and you now have a second career as Director of the IP Hockey Family Office, which specializes in wealth management and future-prepping for players. How did you end up on this path?

Kent: To answer that, you need to understand what we do here. IP Hockey Family Office is about more than financial planning: we’re having goal-setting conversations through the season, about every aspect of life and career. And then when they’re in the off-season, we get the players to focus on what we talked about. We help set an agenda. We get it: you just finished the playoffs, and you’re going to go someplace nice for a vacation with your family…but we’re going to have to address these items.

And that’s where being that financial director for our clients’ lives really helps. We’re almost like their fitness coach, or their nutrition coach. We’re hired to work in their best interest, and so we’re constantly scanning the horizon, not only for risks, but also opportunities.

So it becomes a natural flow of the off-season to have those conversations.

IP360°: The family office concept is unfamiliar to a lot of players; what does it mean?

Kent: A ‘family office’ is not strictly a hockey concept. A family office is a wealth management firm that facilitates a round table of your advisors to discuss a whole ‘life plan’ for wealth. That’s not a new concept, but applying that to hockey is. That’s why when we sit down with guys, we create what we call a Pro Game Plan.

IP360°: If you had the ear of every hockey player who is wrapping up their season right now, what are the first few things you would tell them to write down on a checklist like wake up today?

Kent: First you need to decompress, because you can’t turn your mind to things unless you’re relaxed.

  • You need to reconnect with your family, after the momentum of the playoffs.
  • After that, you start to have to look at where you are with your contract, so you’re having conversations with your agent.
  • Then you’re going to ask, where am I going to be next year? Am I going to be in a different tax jurisdiction?
  • Am I going to maybe sign in with a Canadian team where you can do certain tax strategies that mitigate the high tax rates in Canada?
  • You’re going to be opening up your off-season house…so what are you doing with your NHL city house? Is it just a lease? Is it a house that you’ve purchased?
  • Then there’s risk management: make sure all of your insurance, whether it’s homeowner’s insurance, your car insurance, etc is still valid. Are your estate planning documents still valid in your new city?

We have checklists that we go through with our players at IP Hockey Family Office. The whole idea is to make sure life outside of your hockey career is equally well-coached and set on a path of success.

To hear the full interview with Kent, head to the podcast and listen. For more information about Kent’s team and the IP Hockey Family Office, head to


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Kent Manderville, CFA®, CFP®

Kent is Director of IP Private Wealth hockey professional brand, the IP Hockey Family Office. Kent played over 700 games in the NHL (National Hockey League) and has personal experience with the complexity of a professional athlete’s finances. Kent experienced firsthand the importance of comprehensive financial planning and wealth management, and for the second phase of his career joined IP Private Wealth to help other athletes optimize their finances using the IP 360° process.Kent enjoys most of all, spending quality time with his family. However; he can’t shed his love for hockey and can be found tying up his skates every opportunity to play with the Ottawa Senators Alumni. A graduate of Cornell University, Kent also holds the designation of Certified Financial Planner; he has also graduated all 3 exams for the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.