Giroux Led Yale to First ECAC Title

Re-printed with permission from Yale Men’s Ice Hockey 12/2/2020 8:01:00 AM Steve Conn

CLARKS SUMMIT, Pa. – The captain who led Yale to its first ECAC Hockey Championship before skating for 14 professional teams in seven leagues – including the Stanley Cup Champion New Jersey Devils – is now the Chief Operating Officer of LiveBarn, the industry leading youth sports streaming service in North America.

Ray and Rich Giroux
Rich and Ray Giroux

Ray Giroux ’98 was best known for being the younger half of the only brother (Rich ’95) combination to captain Yale Hockey Teams, until he led the Bulldogs to their best-ever record (23-9-3), a regular-season conference title and Yale’s first NCAA appearance in 46 years while being tabbed a Hobey Baker Finalist, an All-American and the ECAC Hockey Defensive Player of the Year. He became one of the most decorated skaters in Yale history.

The North Bay, Ontario, native, an eighth-round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1994 draft, while weighing in at 154 pounds, joined Rich at Yale when he was 18 and left New Haven 36 pounds heavier and with the second most points for a blueliner in school history. Legendary Yale and U.S. Olympic Head Coach Tim Taylor said, “Ray is an NHL skater with an NHL brain. He doesn’t have an NHL body yet, but he’ll work on that.”

Giroux took the challenge to heart and played 16 pro seasons in three different countries while accumulating 180 goals and 433 points over 877 games. That included 38 NHL games – 11 of those were regular-season dates during the Devils’ 2003 run to the Stanley Cup title – and 389 American Hockey League contests for the four-time pro all-star selection who also competed in the AHL Skills Competition and earned the league’s Man of the Year Award for outstanding contributions in the community numerous times, one of the things he’s most proud of.

“My greatest accomplishment was longevity, and I cherished the good and bad times.  Despite being crushed by it at the time, I learned a lot by being sent down (to the minors) as adversity can help you grow.  I feel fortunate that the game of hockey has been very good to me, so giving back and helping others just seemed like the right thing to do.”

He was on bluelines in the AHL and NHL and then went to Switzerland for a winter before returning to the U.S. and eventually finding smoother ice in Russia. Most North American former college hockey players don’t last long in the pro game over there, but he flourished over eight seasons, including 238 Kontinental Hockey League games, a 2006 Russian Championship, a 2007 IIHF European Champions Cup and a 2009 KHL All-Star appearance.

“There’s a little truth to every crazy anecdote you might here about Russian pro hockey. I was amazed at what I saw,” said Giroux, who squeezed a Swedish pro season in between eight Eastern Bloc winters.

Ray Giroux All Star Game at Kremlin
2009 KHL All-Star Game

There were some former NHL players who helped Giroux assimilate in Russian pro hockey, including Alexei Morozov and Fred Brathwaite. One experience that was “surreal”, was being selected to the KHL All-Star team, alongside future hall of famer Jaromir Jagr, to play in the heart of Red Square on an outdoor rink next to the Kremlin.

“Too cold to be a memory. It was 30 below zero, so I was in survival mode that night. I didn’t even want to touch the puck it was so cold.  Luckily my wife, who was then pregnant with our first son Henri, took some great pictures” said Giroux, who says learning the Russian language helped him sustain a European career.

The guy who took Italian as his language requirement at Yale, took Russian lessons and studied the language to become proficient, endearing himself to coaches, teammates and fans alike. “It was a challenge, but immersing yourself in the culture and learning the language was the only way to last there.”  

Ray Giroux
In Russia

Hockey skills, rather than brute force, were also at a premium for KHL survival. Giroux’s hands, feet and vision were better suited for the larger rinks of Europe. He always looked like a quarterback on the ice at Ingalls Rink, and KHL teams sought players like him.

“Winning a championship in Russia with no family around was unique but still a fantastic experience. It was a growing moment as a person, adapting to life overseas with such a big cultural change.”

Fast forward to now and Giroux is focused on his family and running LiveBarn, which helps families watch kids play when they can’t get to the venue, and players and coaches evaluate what happened in a game or practice with video highlights. It’s used for multiple sports at facilities throughout North America.

Coaching his two sons’ (Henri, 11, and Oliver, 7) hockey teams and watching his daughter, Eloise (9), experience the arts and lacrosse are equally challenging to expanding the footprint of the company he has worked for since 2015.

Some of what he uses in coaching and managing people came from Taylor, his mentor at Yale.

“Tim (Taylor) impacted me as a person and a player, and the things he taught set us up to be better in life. On the ice, he wanted to get us out of our comfort zone and challenge ourselves. I’m always challenging our kids with that, having them play and understand different positions,” said Giroux, who always has his white board and marker in hand on the bench (like Taylor) and wants his skaters to be aggressive with the puck, take chances and join the rush on defense.

“More than just X’s and O’s, we are trying to teach the kids lessons they can apply in life, like working hard, team work and accountability. If you work hard and have fun, the results will follow. It’s not always about the outcome.”

The hard work and results are in full view on LiveBarn, which is now in many NHL practice rinks. That technology would have saved Brian and Linda Giroux a lot of time when they were toting their boys around North Bay Ontario all those years before the two became Bulldogs. That commitment certainly paid dividends; both boys are chief operating officers (Rich is also chief financial officer for MeiraGTx, a gene therapy company) and pillars of their communities.

“Playing with my brother in college was a great experience for me, but even more so for my parents. They got up every Saturday at 5 a.m. to take us to practice, sacrificing much of their time and money. We are lucky and blessed for having wonderful parents, and they were so proud of us having the “C” on our jerseys.”

The youngest Giroux boy, who spent countless hours on the outdoor rink across the street from his home, relished being part of the Yale Hockey Family when he left home, and he helped his new brothers go from one of the worst seasons in program history to the best in just two winters.

“It was so much fun helping to create a buzz around campus and getting the support from everyone around us. We were not the most skilled team overall, but we were a close knit group that played as a team,” said Giroux about the 1997-98 squad. A different player would rise above the others each night. I hope we played a small role in helping the program move forward.”

He and his teammates certainly did get the puck sliding in the right direction for the Bulldogs, who were on the way to the most prolific run in program history, including a national championship and the highest win percentage in Division I between 2008 and 2012.

Giroux’s Yale experience also included a relationship with Theo Epstein ’95, and they remain great friends to this day.  The former president of the Chicago Cubs brought the Eli player to spring training to immerse himself in the Baseball Operations department, an experience that helped him in his current role. 

The seasoned international skater would still be traveling for work if not for the pandemic, but working from his home in Pennsylvania allows for more time with his wife, Megan, and the kids.

“I’m extremely fortunate to have such a great family and work to go to that doesn’t seem like work at all.”

And he has plenty of stories about Russia to share with them, many of which have to wait until the kids are older.

Ray Giroux Family

LiveBarn Ranked #11 In Deloitte Canada Technology Fast 50

LiveBarn received the honor of being ranked #11 in Deloitte Canada’s Technology Fast 50™ as well as #80 in the Deloitte North American Fast 500.

 Launched 23 years ago, the Technology Fast 50™ program celebrates the world-class achievements and the tremendous evolution of the Canadian technology sector. 

The Technology Fast 50™ awards and rankings are presented in distinct categories that characterize and define the unique strengths of Canadian innovation. Deloitte knows first-hand that these awards are an important opportunity not just to celebrate, but to recognize the passion, integrity and vision that has propelled the Canadian technology sector. 

Combining technological innovation, entrepreneurship and rapid growth, Technology Fast 50™ companies—small, large, public, private—span a variety of industry sectors and are leaders in hardware, software, telecom, digital media and emerging areas such as clean technology. Technology Fast 50™ companies are making a difference in Canada’s technology community. 

Deloitte –Technology Fast 50 Winners
Deloitte Technology Fast 500 is the leading technology awards program
in North America (US and Canada)

Now in its 26th year, the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 is the leading technology awards program in North America (US and Canada). Combining technological innovation, entrepreneurship, and rapid growth, Fast 500 companies—large, small, public, and private—span a variety of industry sectors and are leaders in hardware, software, telecom, semiconductors, life sciences, and emerging areas, such as energy technology. These companies are on the cutting edge and are transforming the way we do business today.

Deloitte – Technology Fast 500 North America

LiveBarn Partners with Wisconsin Prep Hockey

Facebook

If you know High School hockey in Wisconsin, then you know the team at Wisconsin Prep Hockey. They are the driving force behind all social media content and they maintain the go-to website for Schedules, Stats, Standings and News for the state of Wisconsin, High School Hockey.

LiveBarn has had a focus on growing the venue base in Wisconsin long before the pandemic made live streaming a requirement. As we added venues to the area, it made sense for us to partner with the go-to resource for hockey. As part of our partnership, we scan the hockey schedules daily to ensure that we are ready to support the surge of midweek viewing that is trademark to the High School hockey season.

We also work with the Wisconsin Prep team to ensure they have access to video content, downloads, updated venue lists and anything else that can make their job easier. Since access to the rink is limited, and you can’t be at two games at once, our 30-second download from VOD is perhaps the most utilized tool to generate quick and reliable content. This feature is available to all our subscribers, on any subscription plan via either our iOS App or a browser. Find a play on VOD, click the download button and the clip is immediately downloaded to your desktop or phone!

In 2020, we installed 23 venues in Wisconsin – 3 more are coming soon to bring our total to 73 in all sports. We have begun to install in indoor soccer facilities and outdoor baseball fields as well.

Want to bring LiveBarn to your venue? Click here for a more information about becoming a LiveBarn venue, to contact our sales team or suggest a venue!