Ex-'Pique cleaning up as Crosby's agent

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:40 AM ET

A couple of years after playing with the Hull Olympiques, back in 1987, Pat Brisson wound up in California with $1,500 to his name.

Here he was, back in the nation's capital this weekend as one of hockey's major powerbrokers.

Brisson, the co-managing partner for hockey along with J.P Barry at IMG, the athlete management monolith, represents Sidney Crosby, the No. 1 pick in yesterday's NHL draft at the Westin Hotel.

Not bad for a guy who started out in the business world washing the cars of then Los Angeles Kings owner Bruce McNall.

"He was my first client. He had 10 cars and I charged him $1,000 a month," said Brisson, looking relaxed in a sharp, dark suit and a crisp shirt open at the collar. "That was good enough to pay my insurance which was very expensive. We were talking about it the other day and laughing."

The path which has led Brisson to his position of influence in the NHL's corridors of power started here in Ottawa, when he arrived to attend and play hockey at the University of Ottawa in 1985 after three years in the QMJHL.

The Gee-Gees used to practice at the Robert Guertin Arena in what was then Hull and Brisson would often cross paths with Pat Burns, then the coach of the 'Piques, at Le Bob.

Brisson knew Burns had only one overage player and offered his services. A couple of weeks later, the Olympiques had acquired Brisson's rights from Drummondville in the QMJHL. Brisson landed on a line with Luc Robitaille and Guy Rouleau, forming the most prolific line in Olympiques' history and making a connection off the ice that years later is still impacting Brisson's life.

Brisson and Robitaille became fast friends.

After graduating from junior hockey and a year playing hockey in Holland, Brisson was back in North America wondering what to do next.

Robitaille, a growing star with the Kings, invited him to California and picked Brisson up at the airport --the day was Oct. 15, 1987, Brisson remembered -- and Brisson stayed at Robitaille's place.

"I had no car and no place to stay," said Brisson.

There was the car washing business, then Brisson got involved in making a video about Mario Lemieux, whom he had befriended in junior hockey.

Through Lemieux, Brisson met Lemieux' agents, the Reich brothers, Tom and Steve, two powerful agents, dealing mostly in baseball.

You can see where this is going.

ROBITAILLE FIRST CLIENT

Brisson started working for them and brought Robitaille into the fold as his first client.

They grew the business and when Lemieux became the owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2000, the Reichs' hockey operation was merged with IMG's hockey division.

Along with Barry and their supporting cast, they now represent about 65 NHLers, including Crosby, Jaromir Jagr, Sergei Fedorov, Joe Thornton, Toronto Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin and Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson.

"(The Reichs) were great mentors for me, coming out of hockey and not knowing business," said Brisson. "Luc has been so supportive. We've had such a great relationship. I look out for him and he looks out for me."

chris.stevenson@ott.sunpub.com


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