Philadelphia Flyers center Claude Giroux
, the National Hockey League’s leading scorer, has been named the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association’s Pro Athlete of the Year, it was announced by PSWA president Rich Westcott.
Giroux will be honored at the PSWA’s 108th annual Sports Awards Dinner on Monday, January 30, 2012 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, on Route 70 in Cherry Hill, NJ.
Giroux, who will turn 24 in January, earned his first NHL All-Star spot last season. This year, he is one of the leading candidates for the league’s MVP award, a distinction earned by only two other Flyers—Bobby Clarke (three times) and Eric Lindros.
Before suffering a head injury during a 5-2 win over Tampa Bay on December 10, the Flyers center took over the league’s scoring lead with 39 points. He also was tied for the NHL lead with five game-winning goals and was tied for second in assists with 23.
Flyers winger Scott Hartnell
calls Giroux the team’s best player. “He’s a big catalyst for us,” Hartnell explained. “He’s so strong with pucks. He’s great defensively. We know what he can do offensively as well. “
Previous winners of the Pro Athlete award include Philadelphia Eagles safety Brian Dawkins, 76ers guard Allen Iverson, WBC light heavyweight boxing champion Bernard Hopkins, and last year’s recipient, Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay.
Other prestigious awards at the dinner, including Team of the Year, Outstanding Amateur Athlete, Living Legend, Native Son, Humanitarian of the Year, and Good Guy Athlete, among others, will be announced in coming weeks, as will a couple of memorable surprise presentations and some “Special Achievement” awards. The most coveted award—Most Courageous—is kept secret until the night of the dinner.
Comedian Joe Conklin will also perform at the dinner, the oldest continuing sports awards banquet in the nation.