Claude Giroux is easily the most famous native of Hearst, Ontario, a small town of roughly 5,000 in the northern reaches of the Canadian province.
The town has a new junior hockey team starting next season, the Hearst Lumberjacks. They’ll play in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League, a Junior A level league. A few weeks ago, the Lumberjacks released their logo and uniforms, and I’m not sure how we missed this until now but ... they honor Giroux in basically every possible way.
The big red beard. The Claude Giroux Foundation logo on the arm of the lumberjack. Hell, even the orange and black as the color scheme. Oh -- and the team’s uniforms:
Giroux has had a big hand in supporting this new team, apparently donating a bunch of money to help them get off the ground. Here’s more from team president Patrick Vaillancourt via the Timmins Daily Press:
The five trees in the background outline the shape of a crown, a tribute to the Hearst Lumber Kings of the local minor hockey association and the teams Giroux grew up skating with.
Notably, Giroux never even hinted at the idea. It was the Lumberjacks and their board of directors who decided to honour their hometown hero by including his personal design on their logo.
“As a tribute to Claude, because we're not shy about this — Claude did give us a hand in contributing to the team — so we just wanted to thank him, and that was our way of saying thanks to Claude,” explained Vaillancourt.
“His financial support to the team is one of the reasons we have a team now in Hearst, and we really, really appreciate what Claude did for the town.”
It’s cool to remember just how important players like Giroux are to their hometowns, particularly when those hometowns are small places like Hearst.