TAMPA BAY – Brian Lawton has been named Vice President of Hockey Operations for the Tampa Bay Lightning, it was announced today by owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie.
Lawton, 42, spent the past 14 years as a player agent, representing prominent NHLers such as Mike Modano, Mark Parrish and the Lightning’s Jeff Halpern, to name a few. A native of New Jersey who grew up in Rhode Island, Lawton was drafted first overall by the Minnesota North Stars in 1983 and he skated in 483 NHL games for Minnesota, the New York Rangers, Hartford, Quebec, Boston and San Jose.
“As a former NHL player who is very accomplished on the agency side, we believe Brian is a perfect fit with the team we are assembling here in Tampa,” owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie said. “As stated, our No. 1 intention is to win hockey games in both the short term and the long term and the management team we are putting together is focused on working as a single unit to procure and develop players within a system that will be successful for a long time. Brian is focused, driven and goal-oriented and he will help us as we strive to reach those goals for our team and our fans.”
Having served four seasons as his team’s player representative for the NHL Players Association, Lawton put that knowledge to use when he retired by becoming a player agent. He started his own firm, Lawton Sport and Financial, in 1994, and became a prominent agent, negotiating more than $300 million in player contracts.
Named three times to The Hockey News’ list of the “100 Most Powerful People in Hockey,” Lawton eventually sold his business in 1998 to Octagon Athlete Representation, one of the United States' largest sports agencies. Based out of Minneapolis, Lawton became Managing Director of Octagon’s Hockey Division. With Octagon Lawton built the second largest hockey agency in the NHL, with clients that included Bret Hedican, Keith Carney, Ryan Miller, Ryan Malone and Kari Lehtonen.
“I would like to thank Oren and Len for what I think is a wonderful opportunity here in Tampa,” Lawton said. “The team has some terrific players in place and a very bright future. I enjoyed my career as a player and then as a player agent, but I have longed to get back on the team side of things. Having the opportunity to be back in an environment where winning games and championships are the focus really gets the competitive juices and energies flowing again. I look forward to working with our management, coaches and players as we strive to bring the Stanley Cup back to Tampa Bay.”
A graduate of Mount Saint Charles Academy in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, Lawton is noted for being the first U.S.-born hockey player chosen first overall in the NHL draft. He represented the U.S. on several occasions, including the 1982 World Junior Championships, the 1983 Men’s World Championships, the 1984 Canada Cup, the 1987 World Championships and the 1988 Canada Cup.