Hustle on Ice
By Adam Preskill
For NHL agent Pat Brisson, life, work and hockey all boil down to the same two things: passion and dedication. As a top prospect and goal-scoring threat in the prestigious Canadian Junior Hockey League, playing alongside future superstars like Steve Duchesne and Luc Robitaille, Brisson was known for his hustle—both on and off the ice. “When I played at Drummondville, I used to drive down to Montreal at Christmastime and buy a bunch of things wholesale and then sell them retail to my teammates,” says Brisson, whose first language is French. “Ties, pencils, necklaces—stuff like that.”
After brief stints in Europe and the Canadian minor league, the Québec native decided not to pursue a career as a player. But he wasn’t quite ready to give up on his love for hockey, so Brisson stopped off in Los Angeles to spend some time with longtime friend Robitaille—then a rising star with the Los Angeles Kings—and calculate his next move. A few months later NHL legend Wayne Gretzky was traded to LA, and for the first time, there was official hockey buzz in California. “We went from 12 players to 40 overnight,” says Brisson, who was working as a youth hockey coach in Culver City, struggling to learn English and make ends meet. “And then suddenly we had guys like Michael J. Fox and Mike Myers wanting to come skate with us.”
When Robitaille needed help handling increasing requests for autograph signings and appearances, he turned to Brisson. On his first assignment, Brisson quadrupled his friend’s usual fee and got his first percentage. “That’s when I realized, Wow—this is a big gig for me,” says Brisson. “Right away I loved it.”
Brisson’s friendship with a few key players gradually snowballed into major success. His love of the sport and knowledge of its intricacies, coupled with a reputation as a tireless advocate for his players, won him a client list that includes some of the best players of the last two decades. Now the head of Creative Artists Agency’s (CAA) hockey division—along with partner J.P. Barry—Brisson and his staff represent approximately 75 players, including the top pick in the NHL draft four of the last five years.
These days Brisson spends much of his time keeping an eye on a couple of hot local prospects in Marina del Rey—his sons with wife Kim—Jordan, five, and Brendan, eight. “My son had a game at 6 AM the other day. He had to get up at 4:30 in morning, but didn’t complain,” says Brisson. “Now that’s dedication.”
Pat Brisson’s LA Faves
LA TEAM: You mean besides the LA Kings?
TOURIST ATTRACTION: Santa Monica Pier
OUTDOOR ACTIVITY: Roller hockey by the beach
BAR: The bar at XIV
PHOTOGRAPH BY BETH COLLER