PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Confirming one of the more poorly kept secrets in Philadelphia sports this week, the Flyers named Claude Giroux the team’s captain on Tuesday.

The team was expected to make the move official on Thursday night, at an open practice at the Wells Fargo Center.

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Making Giroux captain seemed like a formality, as Danny Briere said Tuesday that captain or not, the Flyers are Giroux’s team.

Giroux is the 19th captain in Flyers history, according to general manager Paul Holmgren. The team also announced that Kimmo Timonen will serve as associate captain, and Scott Hartnell and Danny Briere are alternates.

“Claude is the undisputed leader of this team,” Holmgren said via press release.  “He always exhibits a tremendous work ethic in games and practices.  He is a great professional both on and off the ice.  Claude has learned a lot over the past few years playing with Mike Richards, Danny Briere, Kimmo Timonen and Chris Pronger, just to name a few.  Having played with these athletes has been a huge benefit for Claude.”

“Basically, we have some veterans who are really solid guys and have been captains and could be captains, but I think they realize along with us that this is Claude’s time,” said Flyers chairman Ed Snider via release.   “He is our leader and without a doubt our best player, and is one of the premier players in the NHL right now. I am very proud of him and I think this is only the beginning of a phenomenal, phenomenal career.”

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“Claude has put himself in this position by demonstrating excellent leadership qualities both on and off the ice,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette via release.  “Every day he practices and plays games like he wants to make a difference.  After watching him grow for three-plus years, it’s now time for Claude to become the captain of this team.”

“We’re fortunate to have a strong leadership group in our locker room,” Laviolette said.  “With Kimmo Timonen as associate captain and Scott Hartnell and Danny Briere as assistant captains, we’re confident we have the right people in place to lead this team.”

“Obviously, this is a huge honor,” Giroux said via release.  “There have been a lot of great captains here in the past.  Along with this comes a lot of responsibility which I am prepared for.  Being named captain is not really going to change the way I play on the ice and act off the ice. But I am very excited about this opportunity.”

The Flyers open their season on Saturday in Philadelphia against the Stanley Cup favorite Pittsburgh Penguins.

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