Behind the Crest: Claude and Isabelle Giroux

Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images

Claude Giroux is a bona fide NHL superstar. Those previously unaware of his skills are not so anymore, not after an incredible regular season where he scored 93 points.

He’s this season’s Flyers MVP by far, and is most likely next in line to become team captain. But behind the slick moves, the nice suits, and the superstar swag lies a kid of just 24 who is a brother first and a star second to big sister Isabelle.

Isabelle, who gained some notoriety of her own when her boyfriend Eric proposed to her on the ice at Citizens Bank Park the day before the Winter Classic, says her family could never have predicted the success her brother would find, especially before he played junior hockey in Gatineau, Quebec.

“He was a pretty small and average-skilled player, but when he dedicated himself to be the best he could be, he kept improving his skills. After a few games, we knew he would make it.”

Claude’s talent was evident to his family at a very young age, and combined with determination and a strong work ethic, he would accomplish anything he set his mind to. He had an unbelievable career in the QMJHL, scoring 321 points in 187 games with the Gatineau Olympiques over three seasons, and his talents were recognized by the Flyers when they selected him in the 2006 entry draft — a day that the Giroux family will always remember, and not just for the typical reasons.

In a moment that will live on in Flyers’ history, GM and Senior Vice President — and hockey great — Bobby Clarke forgot Giroux’s name as he was announcing the team’s selection. Isabelle was sitting with her brother when he got drafted.

“He was actually texting his friend when Bobby Clarke got on stage, because we didn’t expect them to choose him at all. But when Mr. Clarke said, ‘From the Gatineau Olympiques…,’ we knew it was Claude, so I shoved him as a sign to put his phone away. But then his name wasn’t announced!”

The family wasn’t even sure if they were supposed to get up or not, but once Clarke finally said Claude’s name, they jumped up and hugged, and still laugh about the moment now.

For Isabelle, watching Claude emerge as the NHL superstar he is today has been like any sibling relationship, where both want one another to be happy doing whatever they are doing in life. She says it’s fun to be able to see him play and succeed, and have fun while doing it.

Claude’s success hasn’t had much of an effect on his sister’s life and the dynamic of his family. Isabelle cites the opportunities to attend special events like the All-Star Game and the Winter Classic, travel to different destinations, and see her brother on TV as the only things that have really changed for her.

As for the family, they’ve always been tight-knit and that hasn’t changed, despite Claude’s fame. Isabelle sees him around two or three times during the season, and their parents try to be in Philadelphia at least once a month. They all communicate as much as they can via text and phone, and Claude always returns to Ottawa in the off-season to spend time with the family.

This past Christmas, Isabelle and her now-fiancé got to spend a week in Philadelphia with her family and close cousins. Claude took the time to entertain everyone by throwing a great New Years’ Eve party, and the family got to partake in the various Winter Classic events. But the most memorable moment for Isabelle surely must have been the New Years’ Day marriage proposal, which Claude had a hand in.

“He helped my fiancé to set up the proposal. It was very special for our family.”

In his family’s eyes, Claude is still the same guy with the same personality, even with all of his fame and fortune. He’s still the same kid that Isabelle remembers from their childhood, though she says he’s much more mature now. According to her, “The only thing that has changed is suits.”

Well, suits and a current 3-year contract worth $11.25 million.