SBJ/October 15-21, 2012/Labor and Agents

Agent may organize tour for locked-out NHL players

Liz Mullen
NHL player agent Pat Brisson, who organized a tour of locked-out NHL players in 2004, may do the same this year if the NHL lockout extends another month.

“We did it last time,” said Brisson, co-head of CAA Sports’ hockey division, which represents 62 NHL players, including a number of star players like Sidney Crosby. Brisson said he would seriously “explore” organizing a world tour that would include CAA clients, as well as possibly clients of other agencies, if there is no deal by early November.

Brisson
Brisson was the main organizer of the IMG World Stars Tour in which 25 to 30 players played 10 games in several European cities over two weeks in December 2004 during the previous NHL lockout. He believes there could be fan interest if they choose to revisit the idea.

“We had a plane [for the tour] for 17 days. [Now] the cost of the plane and the cost of the insurance may be more,” Brisson said. “But the revenues may be higher.”

Brisson has already negotiated deals for 15 of his clients to play in Europe during the lockout, and he said more will go if the work stoppage continues. “I would say, in the next month or two, we will have another 20,” he said.

> WITNESS LIST SET FOR TRIAL: Indiana Pacers forwards Danny Granger and Paul George are among 10 current or former professional basketball players who could be called to testify in the case scheduled for trial next month involving NBA player agent Aaron Mintz, who left Priority Sports after 11 years and went to work for CAA Sports.
The trial is scheduled to begin on Nov. 13 in federal court in Los Angeles, presided over by U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson.

Danny Granger is among players who could be called to testify in a case involving NBA agent Aaron Mintz and Priority Sports.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
As previously reported, Priority had identified CAA President Richard Lovett and former Indiana Pacers general manager David Morway as people who potentially had information about the case, but neither were on the witness list that was submitted to the court earlier this month. Priority submitted a witness list of 34 individuals, including the 10 players. Mintz and CAA submitted a witness list of 18 individuals, which included two of those 10 players, forward Jeff Adrien, who was recently waived by the Charlotte Bobcats, and Toronto Raptors forward Dominic McGuire.

Mintz left Priority Sports on March 23 and filed suit against Priority the same day, asking for a federal court declaration that the restrictions in his employment agreement with the firm be declared void. On April 6, Mintz filed another complaint alleging Priority violated various federal and state computer privacy laws by gaining access to his private email account. On April 17, Priority countersued Mintz and Creative Artists Agency, parent of CAA Sports, alleging 12 causes of action, including breach of contract and breach of the duty of loyalty.

Wilson has set a hearing for Oct. 29 to hear a motion from attorneys for Mintz and CAA asking to declare Mintz’s old employment contract unenforceable; to find that Priority violated computer laws; and to dismiss all of Priority’s claims against Mintz and CAA.

At that same hearing, Priority is asking Wilson for summary judgment on their claims of breach of contract and breach of duty of loyalty against Mintz, according to court documents filed in the case.

It is not clear how many clients may have followed Mintz to CAA Sports. As previously reported, McGuire, who was formerly a client of Priority, signed with CAA Sports and Mintz negotiated a new deal with the Toronto Raptors. But McGuire left CAA Sports last week.

NBA players cannot sign with a new agent until 15 days after terminating their previous agent under National Basketball Players Association rules.

Contact Liz Mullen at lmullen@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @SBJLizMullen.

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