Ray Giroux always wanted his son to have a Plan B in the event that his lifelong desire of playing hockey didn’t exactly pan out. “You don’t remove the dream from your kid,” said Claude’s father, Ray. “Even if they don’t do it, they need a backup plan. That’s what I was trying to do with him, to bring him into work like starting at 15 years old. It’s a good trade.” Ray’s trade is that of a licensed electrician, a job — like Claude’s — that requires a certain precision and meticulousness with his hands. However, Ray always knew Claude was wired just a little differently. At the age of two, Claude would walk around the house on the carpet with skates on before he finally got his first test run on the ice. “He used to practice his balance all the time,” said Ray in his thick French-Canadian accent. “When I put him on the ice for the first time, usually you hold the kid or you give him a chair, but he just started to skate. It was incredible.” Growing up in Hearst, Ontario, located about 1,000 miles north of Ottawa, any sport played on ice was a popular one. Ray admitted he developed a passion for broomball, which is essentially hockey played with a ball and sticks. Claude gravitated towards hockey, and when the thermometer reached minus-40 degrees Fahrenheit, schools were forced to shut down since the buses couldn’t run in such extreme temperatures. The Antarctic-like conditions still didn’t prevent Claude from lacing up his skates. “Their feet would freeze,” said Ray. “They would come in the house for awhile and then go back out. It was amazing to see that there.” Twenty years later, Ray and the rest of us are still amazed by what his son can do on frozen conditions. Wednesday night was an epic performance that saw Claude make a series of passes that only a handful of players in the world could manage to pull off. Giroux finished the night with three assists, all highlight-reel plays, and the game’s first star.
How Claude Giroux regained his superstar form
NBC Sports Philadelphia | Dec 21