Inside the Flyers: For Flyers' Giroux and Briere, All-Star Game is a family affair

Claude Giroux (left) has been living with Danny Briere and his three sons. Both Flyers are having stellar seasons.
Claude Giroux (left) has been living with Danny Briere and his three sons. Both Flyers are having stellar seasons.
Posted: January 30, 2011

RALEIGH, N.C. - Claude Giroux, the Flyers' kinetic center who will play in his first All-Star Game on Sunday afternoon, had no brothers while growing up in a small Ontario town.

Now he has four of them.

Well, not that Giroux has the same blood lines as any of them, but . . .

"We're close," Giroux said. "We have a lot of fun together."

Giroux, 23, was speaking about his Haddonfield housemates - teammate and fellow all-star Danny Briere and his three sons, Caelan, 12; Carson, 11; and Cameron, 9.

Briere, 33, recently was divorced; he and his ex-wife, Sylvie, have 50/50 custody of their three boys. When the Flyers are playing at home, the boys are usually staying with their dad and their video-game-playing buddy, Giroux.

They've been living together for only about five months, and the arrangement has worked better than anyone could have expected.

Briere's three children have become attached to Giroux. Very attached. Briere was asked the other day who was more excited to go to the All-Star Game, him or Giroux?

"Probably our boys," he said.

Our boys.

It's the NHL's version of Full House, a show Giroux - who plays the carefree Uncle Jesse - said he has never seen.

Briere asked Giroux to move in with his gang last year. At the time, Giroux was living in a nearby Camden County town.

"He was in an apartment by himself," Briere said. "He wasn't sure where to go or where to live. I told him, 'Why not move in with me? It'll be less lonely and we can do things together.' He thought about it over the summer and decided to move in."

Maybe Giroux would have had a breakout season even if he hadn't joined Briere and his boys. Or maybe, just maybe, Giroux is happier and more relaxed in his home life - and it has carried onto the ice.

Fact is, both players are having career years.

At the all-star break, Giroux has 19 goals - three more than he scored all of last season.

Briere has 26 goals - as many as he scored in the entire 2009-10 season - and is on pace for a personal-best 43.

"You never know how a roommate will turn out," said Briere, who will be on the opposite side of Giroux in Sunday's All-Star Game. "But I have no complaints. None at all. I gave him a couple of rules because of the boys, and he's been very respectful of them.

"I do the laundry for myself and the boys, and he's very respectful and cleans up after himself. He's been great, and it's been a lot of fun."

As the father, Briere plays the role of "bad cop" to his boys.

"He's the one who has to get mad at them, and I don't," Giroux said. "But they're good kids and he doesn't get mad too much. Obviously, there's some fighting, but they're just being boys and that's normal."

As the unofficial "uncle," Giroux plays the role of "good cop" - the guy who plays pickup hockey and shoots pool with the boys.

"He brings a little more energy and fun to the house," Briere said. "The boys love him. He's kind of a big brother that they look up to, where I'm the dad and have to be a little more strict."

Both Briere and Giroux, congenial French Canadians who are swarmed by the media whenever the Flyers play north of the border, will have their parents at Sunday's All-Star Game. That, they said, makes this an extra-special weekend. For Briere, who will make his second all-star appearance in 13 years, it's topped only by the fact he gets to share the experience with his three boys.

And his little "brother," Giroux.


Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi at scarchidi@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BroadStBull.

 

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