Chris Pronger takes to Twitter to share the challenges players face with money

Published April 4, 2022 at 4:03 PM

Chris Pronger is one of the best defenseman I've ever watched play. Whatever team he played on, he instantly made them better. That's why it was so difficult to see his career get cut short by injury. Pronger likely would have had the opportunity to cement his legacy even more if it hadn't been for significant concussion troubles.

Today Pronger got real and personal in his first thread sharing this very real and personal history in the sport and with the financial struggles and issues players face:

I played 20 years in the NHL.

I was one of the highest earning NHL players of all time. And friends with many other pro athletes.

My guess is more than 50% of pro athletes have financial issues in retirement.

Here are 3 problems I've seen (and some stories).

Point #1: Athletes tend to be wasteful early in their careers and think the money train will last forever. (Been there done that)

It doesn't. We are only one injury away from retirement. Always!

I had a $1M signing bonus at 18. That's a huge sum for a young adult. Huge! Understanding the magnitude of that was daunting say the least.

I was lucky to have great mentors early on. Many aren't as lucky.

When I first turned pro in 1993 a lot of players at that time made around $300k/year.

Nowadays, the median salary in the NHL is maybe around $2m.

On a $2m/year salary, there is anywhere from 39%-56% in taxes give or take.

But there's also agents fees (3-5%), escrow and much more

Then there's job related expenses. A chef/nutritionist for some, off-season trainer, $5k-10k/month for a house near the practice facility.

An athlete can easily spend $20k/month.

And since the avg. career is 4 seasons, an athlete might have $2m-$3m in savings when they're done. But with spending habits already formed, in a few years there will be issues.

And in my opinion, this is a fairly optimistic scenario.

For example, I've heard crazy stories about guys spending $1M in a strip club!

I know a guy who had a $2M signing bonus. He immediately bought $400k in cars, dropped $1.5m on a home for his mom. But didn't realize he owed taxes on it! knock knock it's the IRS.

So, while the earning can be great. It's easy to spend a lotand the income doesn't last as long as one might think.

Which brings me to point #2: People take advantage of athletes. You always have to have your guard up.

My teammates and I joked that there were professional deals and then athlete deals.

Financial advisors, lawyers, etc...they assume we don't read the paperwork (often true for many) and charge us more than the average person.

You're in your 20's, a public figure, celebrity of sorts and everyone knows you're making money.

You're a mark.

At times I felt like they had 2 sets of documents: one for athletes and another for everyone else.

Another example: Very common to get a pitch for an investment that needs $500k and closes in 3 days.

Why are they doing this? Because they can't get $ from alleged more sophisticated investors.

After a few errors myself, my rule is: If someone needs an answer right now, the answer is always NO. They learn this lesson real fast.

Another example: athletes are convinced to give power of attorney to advisors, which means they do not control their money.

This is crazy!

Aroldis Chapman, NY Yankees pitcher, had $3m stolen from him by his financial advisor thanks to the power of attorney.

We're pro athletes. Not pro-investors.

So I understand why we sometimes make that mistake.

But the sad part is that shady professionals are far more common than most think. And it's a common trap many fall into nut just athletes.

And finally, point #3: Many players have an entourage to take care of.

It can be hard for many to let go of friends from back home.

I'm lucky not to have had too many issues with this. But we have seen many instances of this.

Often, athletes have the attitude of "if one of us makes it, we all make it."

That means unqualified friends on payroll, investments in deals because we grew up together, and big entertainment bills.

This is another dangerous trap.

Instead, we need to be vigilant about saying NO, which is always tough.

I'm new to this Twitter game.

But I have over 20 years of stories about playing in the NHL, financial stories, and a whole lot more.

And I intend to share some of the best ones.

So, give me a follow if you want to hear more. And comment on this thread and let me know what other stories you want to hear.

Thanks for reading!

This is an incredibly powerful thread that details many struggles young players encounter as they try and get themselves into the game.

For any parents with children trying to get into the game these are some very important lessons that should be taken to heart.
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