Robitaille, Klein Discuss Pressures They Face In Front Offices
When Hockey HOFer Luc Robitaille and former MLS player Chris Klein made successful transitions from distinguished playing careers to the front office, one element remained constant: Pressure. "I read somewhere that Bill Gates had a fear of failing every day," said Robitaille, who played 19 years in the NHL and is now Kings President. "When I was a player, I was like, 'I've got to get better because I want to stay.' It's the same thing when you run a franchise. You want to get better every day, there's that pressure every day." Robitaille and Klein spoke about their transition during a panel at the '19 AXS Sports Franchises & Facilities conference. Klein added of pressure, "You have it every day." Now Galaxy President, Klein had a distinguished 13-year career in MLS, including an MLS Cup win and setting the league record for consecutive games started and consecutive games played. "As a player, you could go out and you could affect the result. Here, when you sit and watch, it becomes difficult to affect the result, so it's a little different type of pressure," he said.
STAY CLASSY: Klein and Robitaille both said that the key as an exec is to hire the right people, empower them and trust them. The hardest part as an exec, both added, is when you need to make difficult personnel decisions and changes that are in the best interest of the franchise. Robitaille said the Kings make a point to treat players they acquire -- and their families -- extremely well on their way into the club. Changes are an inevitable part of the business side of sports, so they also look to treat personnel even better if they are on their way out. As Klein said, "There's times when you have to make difficult decisions about people that you care about and that you worked with and that you've been alongside for a long time, and that becomes the hardest part. I have a good friend in a different business who is always reminding me that if that part ever gets easy, then that's when it's time for you to walk away."