YORKTON - Ryan Getzlaf had an outstanding NHL career, so it should be no real surprise when the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame (SSHF) recently announced the seven 2023 inductees who will become the newest members of the SSHF this fall, and the Regina native was among them.
“It’s great,” he told Yorkton This Week, adding he recognizes the upcoming induction as “an accomplishment” on it’s own merit.
That the Hall of Fame in Regina also sort of closes a circle for Getzlaf, who said it adds to the whole experience that it is in his hometown.
“It’s very cool to have recognition back home. Friends and family will be around a lot,” he said.
Getzlaf said having the upcoming induction in his hometown did having reflective as much on the days of his youth as his long NHL career.
“It’s all the coaches and teachers, everybody I was around when I was young,” he said, adding as he looked back he recognized it as something of a collective effort. “... It wasn’t one coach or experience that put me on the path. It was so many people.”
Getzlaf was also quick to add he had to send out a thanks to the friends – in particular a core group he numbered at six, or seven -- of his youth too.
“No matter what the situation was they were there looking out for me ... There were definitely different points to put me on the right track,” he said.
The track of course lead to the NHL.
Getzlaf was a first-round pick (No. 19) of the Anaheim Ducks in the 2003 NHL Draft,
He made his NHL debut Oct. 5, 2005 and scored four goals and seven points in 16 games prior to a mid-November demotion to Portland of the American Hockey League. He scored the first goal in his first game back on Jan. 9, 2006.
A year later – 2007 – Getzlaf was a Stanley Cup champion as the Ducks claimed their first championship.
Flash forward 14 years, and Getzlaf was still at it. In November 2021, he became the first Ducks player to score 1,000 NHL points. He finished with 1,019 points (282 goals, 737 assists) in 1,157 NHL games.
Internationally, Getzlaf was a member of Team Canada winning Olympic gold medals in 2010 and 2014.
Getzlaf said he still fields questions about which was better a Cup win, or a gold medal?
“There’s no way to compare the two. They impacted a different part of my life,” he said.
The Stanley Cup coming so early in his NHL career was fulfilling “my dream as a kid,” said Getzlaf.
The chance to represent his country was something Getzlaf said he was proud to do.
“Playing for your country. It’s a totally different thing,” he said, adding gold medals did add to that experience.
The Class of 2023 features four inductees in the athlete category and three in the builder category including:
* Jaime (Cruickshank) Boyer (Saskatoon) – Multi-sport
* Ryan Getzlaf (Regina) – Hockey
* Joan McEachern (Leroy) – Soccer
* Hayley Wickenheiser OC (Shaunavon) – Hockey
* Lorne Lasuita (Wynyard) – Multi-sport
* Bernadette McIntyre (Bethune) – Curling
* Noreen Murphy (Saskatoon) – Softball
The 55th Annual Induction Dinner & Ceremony at the Conexus Arts Centre in Regina on Saturday, Sept. 23.