Catching Up with Ryan Getzlaf

Catching Up with Ryan Getzlaf

If it still feels a bit odd to watch a Ducks game without the number 15 in mind, rest assured, you’re not alone. Now on the All-Star break of the NHL’s first season in 18 years without Ryan Getzlaf on the ice, the former Ducks captain is now happily adjusting to life after professional hockey. caught up with Getzlaf this week when the all-time great came to his former stomping ground for an update on retirement life, his son’s burgeoning media career, growing double All-Star Troy Terry and more. (Some of the answers have been edited slightly for clarity.)

Getzlaf also joined Ducks Stream’s flagship podcast “Light the Lamp” with host Alexis Downie. Click here for the full episode.

On retirement life
Life is busier than I expected (laughs). When the kids are in school and all that, I have time and I play golf. But for the most part, as soon as school is out, I’m basically an Uber driver. They all go to different sports and stuff like that. Life is very hectic at home.

On the role of family in her decision to retire
He certainly played a part in it. My kids are now at an age where things are starting to get busy. They start to know and care if you’re home all the time. They start caring if you miss their games, that kind of thing. So I was lucky to be in a situation where I could make that decision and be closer to them.

Video: Junior reporter Ryder Getzlaf interviews the Ducks

On his son Ryder’s gig as the Ducks’ junior reporter
It was cool. It’s always kind of like one of those scary thoughts of, you know, what’s it gonna be like? How is that going to be perceived when he has these relationships with some of the guys where they go back and forth with each other? (laughs) I thought he did a great job. It was really, really great to see.

Him being my oldest… you know when you have a kid he has to come into the locker room probably more than the others, because once you have two, three, they’re all younger and whatever comes with that . Then the COVID stuff happened so the kids weren’t allowed to be there. So he was probably the closest guy of all my kids and he was able to build those relationships, which was really cool. The guys were always great with him.

Video: Ryder Getzlaf asks the ducks who has the worst style

Watching more sports in retirement
I watch a lot more, actually. It’s strange. I never really grew up watching sports very often and certainly not hockey, but now I find myself watching a lot of hockey games again. My daughter loves watching games with me. It gives us something to do together, which is cool. It also helps me stay involved in the game and understand what’s going on, trends in the game and if I want to get into coaching or management, whatever.

About her participation in Women in Sports Weekend skates at Great Park Ice
I took my skates out of the closet and I didn’t have any steel in them (laughs). So I had to call “Muggsy” (Ducks Head Equipment Manager Chris Aldrich). I was like ‘Hey, I have skates but they’re not really good without steel.’

It was cool to be out and involved again. Helping out and seeing some of these young girls and women who had never really played before, it was great to see them on the ice and having fun. It was very fun.

Video: [email protected]: Ducks fans give their captain a standing ovation

Reflecting on his last game in the NHL
Couldn’t have asked for better. I had the chance to play my last game at home here with our fans. The team did an amazing job of making me feel special, for lack of a better term. Seeing the kids in the hallway when I walked in, all that kind of stuff. Sharing this with my family has been a great experience.

Video: [email protected]: Ducks pay tribute to Getzlaf in final game

On what he misses most about the game
Just guys. Being in the locker room is the most important thing that I will always miss. Hanging out with the guys, dinners on the road, all that.

On his All-Star Game experiences
I went to different stages of my life and my career, which was cool. The first time I went there, I went to the Young Stars game in Dallas and Teemu took good care of me there (laughs). I got to run with him and Joe Sakic, and it was the first time I met Joe. It was a cool experience…I got to hang out with my brother. And then the others I brought my family, my children. It was a really cool thing to share with them.

On Troy Terry, who often cites Getzlaf as a mentor, making his second consecutive All-Star Game
It’s been growth for Troy, that’s for sure. Troy didn’t handle the ups and downs coming into the league very well. I was actually afraid that it would bother him for a long time because of his mentality. But Troy was still open which was great. We talked a lot about different things and different situations, but he always wanted to learn. He grew quickly once he understood what it takes to be a pro and how to show off every day.

He had the talent to do it, he just needed to have that mentality. I think the way it has intensified over the past two years is a great example of that.

On the transition from a good young player to a team leader
It’s hard. It should be natural. For some guys it is, and for some guys it isn’t. Sometimes it gets focused on you just because of your game, so it’s going to be one of those things that you have to learn as you go. It’s more about understanding what your actions and expressions mean to the dressing room, rather than your game. The most important thing you need to pay attention to is simply understanding the effect you can have on a dressing room without even want it.

Tweet from @DucksStream: Ryan Getzlaf may have retired, but his tweet hasn’t. On this episode of Lighting the Lamp, @AnaheimDucks All-Star Troy Terry was the butt of Getz’s jokes. 😂🍎🎧💻

By becoming captain of the Ducks
I think leadership for me comes naturally. It should be a natural thing, a natural progression, and I thought I could do it here. I wasn’t forced into anything that made me feel uncomfortable. I know a lot of guys have just been big draft picks and they get dumped, they want them to be captain their freshman year or whatever. I was lucky not to have to. I don’t know if I would have been ready at that time. I was able to spend three, four or five years under my belt before it hit me, and I learned a lot from the guys in front of me.

On his favorite route the cities to visit
I loved Calgary because I played there [in juniors]. I stayed there for four years. I had so many family and friends there all the time. The relationships with people at the rink and around town were always fun to revisit. And then Chicago too. I loved playing in Chicago. It got better as my career progressed. That building wasn’t really great when I was a rookie (laughs), but over the years they’ve rebuilt that thing where they wanted, obviously.

Watching the Ducks this season
I liked watching the guys. Obviously I’ve played with most of them over the last two years and seeing some of these guys take the next step has been a good thing. The struggles are a bit hard to watch for me. I know some guys it affects more. Some guys were ready to start pushing again to win again. It makes it tough and it’s hard to watch some of these guys.

This season, realistically, probably not as good as expected, but I think the expectation of struggles was there. We understood that it was a kind of rebuilding year and a big transition year for this team that hadn’t happened for a long time. So for the average fan, they’re not used to seeing that unless you’ve been around forever. This organization did a great job of rebuilding on the go. We’ve always had a decent set of core guys. This year is that real transition where they’re really going to expect big changes here and have a different group that will lead them forward.

Stay in touch with former teammates
I’ve had different guys call me sometimes. I try not to reach out other than to generally talk about the life of anything. When it comes to hockey, I had a lot of guys calling me throughout the start of the year and asking me how to handle some things they were struggling with. It means a lot to me to be able to help them again and give them some sort of advice from a stranger’s perspective.

Stay involved in hockey
It’s been a weird year. I kind of imagined myself transitioning in a good way. I never really wanted to quit the game, so to speak. I just wasn’t ready to keep playing on the ice and putting my body through what I did. I hope to learn a few more different areas. I was able to watch some things, but overall wherever I can help, I’m just happy to be there.

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