Jul 13, 2021

If the Iowa Wild created a high school yearbook-styled magazine, the category “Best Smile” would go to which player?  


An easy contender in the best smile category would be Wild forward Damien Giroux, and his toothless grin that shined a lot during a terrific rookie season from the Hanmer, Ont. native. Missing teeth are an all-too common sight in professional hockey. However, Giroux’s tale of losing his front tooth, isn’t what you would expect. 


“It’s true I took too many sticks and pucks to the face in junior,” Giroux said. “But the original story is not as cool.  It has nothing to do with hockey. I was ten-years-old and caught my brother on the back of the head on a trampoline.” 


Speaking of Zacharie, Damien’s younger brother, one can often find the two Giroux boys on a lake by their cottage in North Bay, Ont., at least when hockey season isn’t in session. 


“My brother plays with the Flint Firebirds in the OHL, and I got to play against him last year,” Giroux said. “We won both games, and I scored twice.” 


As is often the case, there is no love lost on the ice between siblings. However, one place the two brothers get along is in a fishing boat. 


“Where we live in Ontario there are so many different lakes,” Giroux said. “My brother and I try out a different lake every weekend and fish for pickerel and muskie.” 


On the ice is the other main place Damien spends his offseason, coaching minor hockey players at RHP Training Centre in Sudbury, Ont., a job he has held in the summer dating back to his early teenage years. If you watch even five minutes of Giroux with Iowa, you can see why he gets frustrated with minor hockey players who lack work ethic. 


“Some kids are willing to show up and work,” Giroux said. “Others just don’t care and are there because their parents are making them, that’s a big pet peeve of mine.” 


Like many of his other Iowa Wild teammates, the former member of the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit has been hyper focused on one goal.  That goal is to make 'NHL hockey player' his LinkedIn job title.  


“Pro hockey has always been the dream,” Giroux said. “If not hockey, I feel like I’d love to be a cop… that was going to be my backup plan if I went to school instead of junior. It’s not a desk job, there’s a lot more anticipation and a lot more excitement [than most other jobs].”


Honesty is an adjective which fits Giroux’s style of play well and would benefit a life in the police force too, but even for someone as honest as Damien, he does have at least one guilty pleasure.


“Poutine” answered Giroux immediately. “For me it’s all about the deep-fried fries, cheese curds and a dark gravy…or you can be like ‘Barbs’ and just throw anything on there.”


For more on Damien’s roommate and fellow Wild teammate, Dereck Baribeau, stay tuned for his player feature coming up next month, which includes plenty of culinary talk.


Tomorrow, Damien joins Joe O’Donnell live on Facebook for some rapid-fire questions. Fans are encouraged to join live and ask questions as well.


Iowa Wild hockey is presented by MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center. For more information, please visit



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