A Day in the Life of CAA's Very Own Jerry Maguire
Recently named one of the 10 most powerful people in hockey by Sports Illustrated, Pat Brisson keeps his clients -- including $100 million kid Sidney Crosby -- happy the old-fashioned way: by working for them 24/7.
This story first appeared in the Aug. 23 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
"I'm pretty structured," says Pat Brisson, sports agent and co-head of CAA's hockey division. "I have no choice because there are too many balls in the air." Those balls represent, in part, a client roster that includes five No. 1 NHL draft picks since 2005, including Sidney Crosby, for whom he negotiated a 12-year, $104.4 million contract extension with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Brisson is busiest during the weeks from mid-June to early July that span the draft, the league's free agency period and then CAA's prospects camp, where they look at teens to possibly sign. "But there's never such a thing as not busy," says the 48-year-old Quebec native, who travels about one week a month. It's no wonder, then, that he makes the most of his time in his Century City office or home in Marina del Rey with his wife and two sons -- even his off-hours are devoted to the sport he's loved, and played, since he was a kid.
Wakes up to 30 to 40 new e-mails in his inbox.
Brisson -- who played on Quebec's storied Hull Olympiques junior hockey team with best friend Luc Robitaille, a Los Angeles Kings legend and now the team's president of business operations -- works out for about an hour, either at Equinox or at his home gym. "I try to get a workout in first thing in the morning; otherwise you don't get to it," he says. "I do circuits and stuff like that. I can't compete anymore, but I keep myself in pretty good shape, so I can go on the ice and scrimmage with [the players]. It's helped us to bond."
While making a few calls, Brisson drives to CAA's Century City headquarters, picking up breakfast at John O'Groats on the way. "I'm a creature of habit ... I call in my breakfast so I don't waste time ordering."
Upon arriving at his corner office on the eighth floor, Brisson begins tackling his daily task list, an alphabetized, typed, single-spaced sheet of paper he has printed out the previous night. By day's end, the task list will be covered in handwritten additions and highlighted reminders. "If a client texts or calls, and I write it down on the list, then it won't get lost," he says.
"A good day is when I'm at the office and I can work the phone. I'm not the type to have long lunches," he notes. "I like to have quick internal meetings." Twice monthly, Brisson conducts a conference call with CAA hockey division co-head J.P. Barry, who is based in British Columbia, and their 20-member staff worldwide about the status of their prospects and player clients as well as upcoming tournaments.
During the season, NHL games on the East Coast begin, and Brisson tunes in on the flat screen in his office, which also is outfitted with a satellite dish to receive the Canadian broadcast feeds.
One of the most powerful sports agents in the world is, at heart, a proud hockey dad. While taking calls on the road after leaving the office, Brisson makes it to the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo in time for his sons -- Brendan, 11, and Jordan, 9 -- to hit the ice for clinics or practice with their AAA youth hockey teams. "I don't miss too many of them," Brisson says. "I help coach here and there, and I travel with them, too. Sometimes there's a game at 7:30 in the morning and another one at 9, and my wife and I try to be there."
For the past 21 years, every Monday night Brisson organizes a skate for Hollywood industry types at the Toyota Sports Center. "Pat represents the American dream," says American Group Management founder Brant Feldman, a sports manager who was Brisson's first employee 20 years ago, "to go from sleeping on Luc Robitaille's couch [when Brisson first moved to L.A.] to running all this." During the NHL season, if the Kings are playing at Staples Center, Brisson likes to watch the first period from home. If he has clients on the visiting team, he then heads downtown to see them or catches up over breakfast or dinner.
After dinner with the family, Brisson sits down to answer the longer e-mails that have come in during the day.
He wraps up by preparing the next day's task list. Just before going to bed at 11:30, he catches up with NHL Tonight on the NHL Network and watches the last edition of The Sports Network's SportsCentre from Canada. "Kim will sometimes say, 'Geez, can we turn the channel?' " he says of his wife, whom he first met while she was playing roller hockey on Venice Beach ("I kind of scouted her"). Although Brisson moved to L.A. with ideas to get involved in real estate, "I'm always connected to hockey," he says. "If I'm not leaving the office to go to a baseball field or a recital, I'm going to another rink, and then I get there and it's hockey, hockey, hockey."