January 13, 2014

Pedersen: What a year it’s been for the Getzlaf family

It’s shaping up to be quite a year for Regina’s Getzlaf family, although it spans the calendar years of 2013 and 2014.

Of course on November 24, 2013 Chris Getzlaf and the Saskatchewan Roughriders captured the 101st Grey Cup with a 45-23 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Mosaic Stadium.  Then on January 7, 2014 Chris’ brother Ryan was named to Canada’s Mens Hockey team for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

On the day of the announcement, Chris appeared on 620 CKRM’s SportsCage and said he wasn’t surprised his brother’s name was called by Team Canada GM Steve Yzerman at the news conference in Etobicoke, Ontario.

“At no point in time did I think he wasn’t going to be a part of this team,” Getzlaf said confidently.  “Even when it was questioned by the panelists before the season started, I thought there’s no way he could be left off that roster.”

The number one question Chris is fielding these days is whether or not he’ll be in Russia for the Games in February.

“It’s a little up in the air,” Getzlaf explained.  “I completely plan on it.  Obviously it’s one of those things that you can’t really miss out on.  I have to make sure everything lines up properly.”

Ryan Getzlaf was a member of the 2010 Olympic champion Team Canada who won the gold medal with an overtime victory over the USA in Vancouver.  Sidney Crosby scored the game-winner and Chris Getzlaf was in the stands at GM Place.

“It was unreal,” Chris said of the experience.  “Every event, everything was jam-packed, there was tons of support everywhere.  I think the gold medal game itself had to take the cake when it comes down to it.  You think you’ve got it won, then they tie it up and the place goes silent, and you got to overtime and then we get the win anyway.  It just made it that much more exciting.”

Just like the Green Mile, fans spilled into the Vancouver streets to celebrate with one another.

“It was wild,” Getzlaf recalled.  “I think every single event went well but hockey always seems to take precedent in this country. So walking down any street, every pub and bar was packed with people who had been watching the game.  It was just a great time.”

The Getzlaf boys share a close relationship, with Chris being the older of the pair by two years.  They spoke about the roster leading up to Tuesday’s announcement.

“I talked to him a few days ago but we didn’t talk about the team,” Chris reflected.  “I don’t really think he was that nervous.  Deep down he felt he’s been playing the way he needs to play to get that look.  I don’t think he was nervous at all but when it comes down to the day where they pick the team, it’s nice to have your name called.”

Getzlaf was also happy for another Reginan, Chris Kunitz, who was named to Team Canada as well.

“It was nice to see Chris Kunitz get an opportunity,” Chris agreed. 

“He’s been successful every year he’s been in the NHL so it was nice to see he made the team.  It gives him a chance to show he can compete at that level.  I got to know him a bit in his days in Anaheim, talking to him outside the rink or at my brother’s house.  What I got from him is that he’s a hard-nosed player who’s gritty.  He always works hard and skates hard.  When you do that, opportunities will be there.”

As for the Roughriders, the older Getzlaf is still basking in the glow of the team’s Grey Cup victory in 2013. Getzlaf had three catches for 78 yards in the big game after a regular season in which he led the team in receiving (1,045). 

As is tradition, the slotback got to spend some time with the Grey Cup trophy and he took it to his Regina wedding reception at the Turvey Centre in late-December.

“It was a great night,” Chris smiled.  “We had a lot of friends and family out there who weren’t able to make it to California for our wedding during the bye week.  We celebrated with a party here and having the Grey Cup there added a little something.”

The trophy didn’t prove to be too sturdy, as it snapped in half during the festivities and pictures of it quickly began circling the internet.

“It ended up getting a little rowdy and I guess the Grey Cup isn’t as durable as it’s made out to be so some things went wrong there.  It’s definitely not the first time that’s happened and it won’t be the last.”

It didn’t take long for the fine folks at Barker’s Trophies in Regina to solder the Grey Cup back together and it came back to life stronger than ever.  That was just in time for the Cup to hit the trail for the Riders’ Grey Cup Tour through northern Saskatchewan in early-January.

“What a ride it’s been all season,” Getzlaf concluded.