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  1. #1
    GPWA Dan is offline Former Staff Member
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    Default Affiliate Interview Series: Brad Leeb – bradmleeb

    Name:  Brad-Leeb-Banner.jpg
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    AGE:
    31
    HOMETOWN: Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
    LIVING IN: Nuremberg, Germany / Vancouver, BC, Canada
    FAVORITE FOOD: Italian
    MUST READ BOOK: Erasing Memory, by Scott Thornley
    SITE: BetOnHockey.com


    You have the distinction of being the GPWA’s only professional hockey player. Tell us about your career on the ice and bring us up to date on your future plans.

    I have been playing hockey since I was six years old, and like most kids in Canada who play hockey I dreamt of playing in the NHL. I turned pro at age 20, and I was fortunate enough to play in the NHL with the Vancouver Canucks and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Then I had the opportunity to play in Germany, on the same team as my brother Greg, and have been playing in Germany’s top league, the DEL, for the past four years.
    At this stage I take things year by year. I will be back in Nuremberg playing for the Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers next season, and when I retire from playing pro I would definitely like to stay involved with the game.

    Your hometown is listed as Red Deer, Alberta, about halfway between Calgary and Edmonton. Did you grow up rooting for the Flames or the Oilers? And who was your favorite player growing up?

    I grew up during the dynasty days of the Oilers, so I was a big fan of Edmonton. I was young but I do remember the five Stanley Cups the Oilers won in the 80s. Wayne Gretzky was my favorite player, but my brother and I used to pretend we were all the Oilers when we played on the outdoor rinks and street hockey.

    We see you made it up to the NHL three times, twice with the Vancouver Canucks and once with the Maple Leafs. What was it like to play a few games in the NHL? Are there any memories from those games that stand out?

    When you have a lifelong goal or dream that you work so hard for, it is a satisfying feeling to realize that dream. I was excited, happy and proud but also thankful – thankful for the support from my family throughout the years. My parents never got to see me play in the NHL in person, but I have pictures of them gathered around the TV with extended family and friends cheering me on. Those pictures are some of my favorite keepsakes.

    As for stories, there would be too many to fit in this interview and most are not G-Rated. If anyone wants to hear about how Mark Messier spilt Gatorade all over me before my second NHL game, or how my brother and I partied with the Stanley Cup when he played with the champion Dallas Stars in 1999, we can go talk about it over some beers!

    You played for the Toronto Marlies in the AHL for a couple of years. Did you get a chance to visit the Hockey Hall of Fame while you were there? What did you think of it?


    I did get a chance to go to the Hockey Hall of Fame a couple times and it is almost like going to church. It is a cathedral-like place where everyone is in awe of the historical, almost spiritual contents. The highlight for me was going into the vault where they keep all the original trophies and all the original rings that have been taken off the Stanley Cup as recent winners are added. Lots of history.

    How is hockey in Europe different from hockey in North America?


    There are many subtle differences in the rules and ice surface. This is because hockey in Europe is played with international (IIHF) or Olympic-style rules. The biggest difference that I notice is the quality of the refereeing. Without going into extensive detail, I will say it is very frustrating because the referees are not as professional as those in North American hockey leagues. The standards and accountability simply are not there. Some referees or linesmen are not even considered “pro.”

    A couple staff members at the GPWA Times Magazine follow hockey pretty closely, and we know that hockey players have been known to make a wager or two. What are some of the typical bets you might see players making in a hockey locker room?

    The team may put together a hockey pool or a Super Bowl pool, but there aren’t many wagers. Non-money bets may be made on shootouts in practice. “Juice Boy” is where the last player to score in the shootout would have to get juice for the entire team and deliver it to each person’s stall in the dressing room. Putting “Money on the board” is also a type of bet that players volunteer to pay. This usually happens if a player is playing against a team he used to play for. He would write his name and dollar amount on the board, usually $100. Then if the team wins the game, the money will be added to the team fund that goes towards a team night out, or the money could be offered to the guy who scores the game’s winning goal!

    How did you decide to become involved in gambling-related affiliate marketing? When did you launch your site?

    Fawn Labrie and my wife, Emily Leeb, work with CalvinAyre.com and they introduced me to the industry. I have always loved sports betting and casinos, so I was intrigued right away. The idea of creating a hockey-based betting-tips site seemed like an easy and obvious fit with my hockey background.

    Planning and building the Web site started in the summer of 2010, and the site was launched at the start of the NHL season in October 2010. Everything has been a work in progress this year, and I am looking forward to the changes and ideas we have for next hockey season.

    As its name implies, BetOnHockey.com is an ice hockey betting-tips Web site. Who is your target audience and how has it been going for you so far?


    So far my target audience has been North America, mainly Canada. Obviously hockey is huge in Canada and I have been able to create a following. Playing hockey in Germany has also allowed me to introduce the Web site to some hockey fans around Europe. I would like to target the Scandinavian countries down the road. Canada believes hockey is their game, but there are many great leagues and fans all around Europe.

    Do you feel like you have “inside knowledge” when it comes to betting on hockey based on your own playing experience? What tips would you make to hockey bettors based on what you know?

    I have had a 12-year professional career so far, and have played at hockey’s top levels in North America and Europe. I feel confident with my knowledge about the game. The tips I can provide are from my personal experiences being in similar situations. I know what teams/players are going though when they are dealing with hot streaks, slumps, travel, road trips, injuries, contract talks, trade deadlines and playoffs. Sometimes when you know what a team or player is going through, you can give yourself an edge on your bets. I also feel I am a student of the game. I love watching hockey and keeping up with the latest news and stats.

    How do you split your time between the demands of playing hockey professionally and managing your Web site? Do you have any “staff” to help take care of business?

    I have not had any problems with the time management. On a typical day the team will practice/train for about two to three hours a day. I can then spend the rest of my day working on my Web site. When the team is on the road I am able to keep busy on the bus with wireless Internet or with my iPhone. I am fortunate to have the time and technology to continue to work on the site. It also helps that I like to keep up on all hockey-type news, so it does not seem like I am “researching.”

    I would consider my “staff” to be the other players who have been helping me with game predictions and articles. So far I have had some close friends helping me out, and I will pay them with a round of golf and beers during the summer. Next season I plan to get more players involved.

    Let's talk a little webmaster shop. What in your opinion are the advantages or disadvantages of having (owning) keyword-rich domain names vs. general domain names?


    I am more comfortable with all the hockey questions as this webmaster stuff is still new to me, but I can try and talk shop! From what I understand, at this stage the keyword-rich domain is more beneficial to me right now. My Web site is new and I am trying to create traffic. I could possibly get more traffic from certain targeted keyword domains, rather than a general domain name, as high-volume keywords will rank higher with search engines. A general or non-keyword-rich domain may work if you already have brand presence, like CalvinAyre.com. This is a name that industry professionals already recognize and that already has a presence. I chose BetOnHockey.com because I’m just starting to build my brand and felt that identifying what my site is all about in the domain name was important.

    What are your thoughts on buying/using domain names that play off other well-recognized brand names?


    At first I would have thought this was a clever way to drive traffic. However, I decided to stay away from this idea and would recommend for others to do the same. The short-term gain would not be worth the potential long-term consequences. You would be dealing with copyright infringement laws and ultimately ruin a relationship with an online provider you are trying to advertise. I am looking to be in this industry for a long time and I would prefer to create positive relationships that work for both parties. I would not want someone doing this to me.

    Tell us about your recent experiences shopping for a good e-mail campaign Web site. Any recommendations?


    This was a learning experience for me. I quickly learned that affiliate links can get your account suspended. I originally thought you could advertise whatever you wanted, as long as you were sending to opt-in e-mail addresses. Obviously this is not the case. After I sorted this out I found a couple easy-to-use e-mail campaign Web sites. As with affiliate programs, the communication was the key for me. Finding someone to help me out, and help correct what I was doing wrong, was important. I am currently using iContact, but I’ve also heard good things about Vertical Response, AWeber and Constant Contact.

    What do your friends and family think of your work as an affiliate?


    They do not have a problem with it, although I did get asked if I was a bookie!

    What’s the most difficult thing about operating your sites?

    The NHL has games virtually every day from October to playoff time in June. Updating has to be daily. There are no days off. I am having fun with it, but it is very constant.

    What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the industry? How did you discover the GPWA?


    I found out about the GPWA through my wife and conference information she had gathered on her business trips. As I looked through the GPWA Web site I quickly realized how helpful the forums are. I also like to follow the industry news from J Todd and the APCW. I would recommend the forums and J Todd’s Perspectives Weekly to anyone new to the industry who wants quality information.

    What time management tips can you offer us?

    I think everyone is different and you have to do what works for you. For me, I always have a “To Do” list. I have a list of things that need to be completed daily, like update game results, make predictions and post articles, and also a more long-term list of what needs to get done on each upcoming day. Pretty simple, but it works. It always helps to be organized and be prepared.

    Technology is also a huge help with time management, and everyone should be taking advantage of this. If you are involved in the online industry you should always be able to be online. I will always travel on my hockey road trips with my Mac and iPhone. I love that I can e-mail, Facebook, Tweet and research with my iPhone. I don’t know how I used to get along without it. Any downtime can be used productively.

    Using up-to-date, top-of-the-line gadgets (if possible) makes everything easier and faster, too. I would compare my old regular cell phone to my iPhone, like an old wood hockey stick compared to a modern one-piece composite stick. It is simply a better product using better technology. I would never use a wood hockey stick ever again!

    If you had to pick five keys to success as an affiliate, what would they be and why?


    1. Be committed.
    2. Be patient.
    3. Ask questions.
    4. Follow your instincts.
    5. Network and stay in touch.

    You mentioned using Facebook and Twitter. Do you use these, or other social networks, to promote your sites? If so, which ones and how?

    I use Facebook and Twitter. I know there are many different social networks, but I feel these are the main two. If anyone is signed up to a social network, chances are they will have a Facebook and/or Twitter account. I basically try to use the networks as an extension of the information that is on my Web site. League news and game predictions are easy daily posts to help drive traffic. It also provides a quick and easy way to communicate with fans/readers of the Web site. A personal touch can go a long way. I am always available on my personal and Web site Facebook and Twitter pages. Feel free to add or Follow me!

    Where’s your base of operations during the hockey season? Do you make your home somewhere else when the season’s over?

    Right now base operations are in Nuremberg, Germany during the hockey season, August-March. During the off-season months, April-July, my wife and I go back to Vancouver, BC.

    How do you like to spend your time off?


    The summer months are my real time off. I get a break from playing hockey and I am less busy with the Web site. During the off-season I love to be at my wife’s parents’ place on Vancouver Island. They have two beautiful joining properties on a lake, and the “lake life” is very relaxing. Go out on the water, relax in the hot tub, rock out in the fully equipped studio lounge or enjoy their personal bar overlooking the lake.

    What’s your favorite vacation spot?

    Either a hot beach or Vegas!

    If someone were visiting you, what’s the one place you would definitely take them to see?


    In Vancouver I would recommend seeing Grouse Mountain. You can hike or take the gondola up the mountain. When you get to the top there’s an amazing view of the city and you can enjoy a beer or eat at the restaurant.

    What’s the first concert you ever attended in person?


    Can’t remember my first concert, but one of my favorite concerts was one of the first concerts I ever went to with my wife. It was Canadian rock band Theory of a Deadman, in Toronto. I had met the bass player, Dean Back, and he asked for one of my hockey jerseys. So I saw him before the show and gave him my Toronto jersey. He was very thankful and wore it out onto the stage for the band’s first song. It was pretty cool. There seem to be a lot of rock stars who want to be hockey players, and hockey players who want to be rock stars!

    If you were directing and starring in a movie, who would you cast as your romantic interest?


    Any of the Ayre Heads would do!

    What’s your favorite hockey movie?

    The movie Slapshot, for sure. It is a classic. I could probably quote the entire movie.

    Tell us three things that nobody knows about you.

    - I have been riding horses since I was very young.
    - My cousin is country music singer Shane Yellowbird.
    - I met my wife on MySpace.

    Finally, we could use some inside information . . . who looks good for taking the Stanley Cup this year?

    I predicted the Vancouver Canucks to win the Stanley Cup before the season started. They still look good and I am sticking with my pick. Other teams that look good are the Detroit Red Wings from the Western Conference, and the Philadelphia Flyers and the Boston Bruins from the Eastern Conference.

    (editor's note: Not a bad prediction. The Bruins defeated the Canucks in seven games)

  2. #2
    GFPC is offline Private Member
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    I had my eyes glued on this interview. That is how good it was. What a great and interesting interview!! So awesome!!

    Brad if your ever in Toronto - I will certain go out for beers with you and hear some stories!! haha

    Ever go to the Madison?

  3. #3
    rak's Avatar
    rak
    rak is offline Former AM
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    One thing I know about ice hockey fans.. is that you're fanatical. I'd say even more so than that sport, they play south of the canadian border, where they throw this ball around and wears lots of padding. Gridiron.

    And I am about to unashamedly plug.. the Queensland Maroons! We've got our final game tonight against the nasty, hopeless NSW blues tonight. Game 3, last game, Series all tied up. Rugby League at is finest. State vs state. Mate vs mate.

    I am officially commandeering this forum, and flying the Queensland Maroon colours on it!


  4. #4
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    BeckyCA is offline Public Member
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    Oh my gosh!! BRAD! Love the interview, and thanks GPWA for interviewing such an awesome guy who is a friend of mine too

  5. #5
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    davemerry is offline Public Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digo View Post

    If you were directing and starring in a movie, who would you cast as your romantic interest?


    Any of the Ayre Heads would do!
    I have to agree!

  6. #6
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    bradmleeb is offline Private Member
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    Thank you GPWA for the opportunity to share my story. I am really enjoying the iGaming industry & look forward to being involved for a long time. Cheers.
    Brad Leeb
    Professional Hockey Player
    Professional Handicapper

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    Nice interview Brad! Well done!

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