It wouldn’t be surprising if Chris Getzlaf felt a twinge of sibling rivalry. His younger brother Ryan has already won a Stanley Cup, signed a multimillion-dollar contract, and appears to be a shoe-in for the Olympic hockey team. But Chris is an outstanding athlete in his own right and does not harbour any jealousy.
Getzlaf is a starting slotback with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The road to the Canadian Football League was not an easy one for the six-foot, 200-pound University of Regina product.
“Whether it was the high school or professional level, I was never an immediate starter,” said Getzlaf. “I have always had to work hard and prove myself to the coaches.”
Getzlaf did have an opportunity to start in 2006 with the University of Regina Rams. He played well enough to attract the attention of CFL scouts and was drafted by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2007.
After a brief stint with the Ticats, Getzlaf was traded to his hometown Saskatchewan Roughriders. “It was a dream come true to return home and play with the Riders. Every young kid in Regina thinks about playing with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.”
Even though Getzlaf saw limited playing time with the Roughriders in 2007, he was lucky enough to be part of a team that won the Grey Cup. He saw more duty in 2008, starting five games with 15 receptions for 244 yards.
So far, the 2009 season has been Getzlaf’s most productive. To date, the slotback has caught 28 passes for 346 yards and four touchdowns.
While many players would be content playing for their hometown team and being a starter, Getzlaf has his sights set higher. “I would like to get to the point where the quarterback and coaches want to throw to me in the clutch situations. Eventually, I am hoping to win Canadian player of the year.”
When Getzlaf is not playing football, he keeps in close contact with his brother, attending hockey games in Anaheim. He describes their relationship as one of healthy competition. “Growing up, Ryan and I played sports together on a fairly regular basis. Even though I’m a couple of years older we even played on the same hockey team.
“I can also say that whenever we got in the normal brother wrestling matches or fights, I was always the victor!”