Future hockey contract negotiations are a family matter for the LaCombe clan
For Minnesota Gophers defenseman and Anaheim Ducks prospect Jackson LaCombe, his father is an NHL agent for a firm that will represent him when he turns professional.
When a player is picked in the NHL Draft, they come up to the stage, put on their new team’s jersey, and then it’s picture time. Inevitably, the player is photographed with the front office from their new team, their parents and their agent.
Gophers defenseman Jackson LaCombe was able to save time and combine two of those photos when he was picked in the second round (39th overall) by the Anaheim Ducks in 2019. His father, Chris, is not only a hockey dad and former youth hockey coach, but a player agent, working with some of the biggest names in the game.
Nearly 20 years ago, while coaching youth hockey in Eden Prairie, Chris LaCombe was contacted by Pat Brisson and other agents from Los Angeles-based Creative Artists Agency, the legendary talent hub founded by Michael Ovitz, that represents mega-stars like Tom Cruise, Sting, Mariah Carey, David Letterman and hundreds of others. The sports arm of CAA represents roughly half of the NFL’s starting quarterbacks.
Over time, LaCombe became such a trusted and important hockey talent scout for CAA that he left his career in computer sales and became a full-time player agent.
His long-time relationship with Brisson is coming full circle this season, with Brendan Brisson skating for Michigan, and alongside Jackson LaCombe for Team USA, which won the gold medal at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships. While their fathers work together, Brandan and Jackson have skated together on various teams since youth hockey.
When Jackson LaCombe and Brendan Brisson (a first round pick of the Vegas Golden Knights in 2020) decide it’s time to turn professional, their fathers will trade places and negotiate on behalf of the other’s son to remove emotion and potential conflicts of interest.
“Pat Brisson represents him. It’s not going to be me doing it,” Chris LaCombe said. “Everyone who has had a son (in hockey) likes someone else to do the work, so to speak.”
The elder LaCombe admits he feels blessed, not only to get to work in hockey, but that his career allows him and wife, Sandy, to get to almost all of Jackson’s games, home and away. And afterward, win or lose, they’re not agents, they’re mom and dad.
“When he comes out of the rink...I really don’t start the conversation with hockey,” Chris LaCombe said. “I want to talk about dad stuff and stay out of the hockey business with him.”