Anaheim – At the end of a passionate, 30-minute farewell Ryan Gatezlaf has dominated for 17 seasons, the Anaheim Duck captain has made a confession.
“To tell you the truth, last year’s trade deadline was the hardest two days of my life,” said the 36-year-old, looking at his wife in a room with classmates, friends, family and alumni.
“Page and I stayed up late talking about it, and in the end the decision to stay was based on the loyalty shown to me. It didn’t feel right to go anywhere. “It’s a privilege to be able to play my whole career with an organization.”
And so it is here, in Southern California, where Regina Native, who has made such an unforgivable mark on the organization and the community, will continue to raise her four children.
He was devastated to see the four young men sitting in the center and in front of his farewell announcement, explaining how he knew it was time to move on from a game that might one day well call him to a Hall of Fame speech.
“I’ve always said that when I’m going to retire I’m going to direct my body and mind,” he joked, adding that initially he thought he’d wrap it up ten years ago.
“Everyday crushing, and preparation for each season, becomes harder as you get older.
“I have created a supportive environment around me, a loving family where I want to go home. I want to grow up playing with the kids, not watching the game.
“Getting out of the game before I was able to do this kind of thing was a big deal for me.”
And so he will be fit for his last NHL game on April 24 against the Blues, allowing a Honda Center fan to bid farewell to one of the most influential centers and playmakers of his era.
A man whose 6-foot-4, 225-pound frame helped him join some elite teams in the game in 2007 by adding a Stanley Cup crown, two Olympic gold, a World Junior crown and a World Championship title, and 1,150 regular seasons. Games while playing
“These are rugby miles on his body,” said former post GM Brian Burke, who admits he can’t perceive a player as physically as Getzlaf can tolerate.
“It’s one thing to play a lot, but it’s another difficult game. I’ve only had him for a few years, but what we did when Getty was there was a victory. “
Burke vividly recalls how professional Gateslaf was in his rookie year in 2005 when Burke decided to send him and Corey Perry to AHL two months later, although both were performing admirably.
“We didn’t like our leadership group at the time and we didn’t think it was a good team to learn from, so I told them, ‘This could be the most unfair move in hockey history but we need to keep you away from this group.’ “Getzlaf averaged two points in Portland and came back in January well,” Burke said.
“They managed it like champions.”
Towards the end of that year, after losing a fierce race to Game 5 in the conference finals, the young couple were asked to return shortly after to Portland, where they had a Game 7 of their own in the Calder Cup semifinals.
“They didn’t complain or ask why, they said, ‘How long is the flight?'” Said Burke, the franchise’s all-time scoring leader.
“Getty hit the post in overtime of that game but they lost.”
A year later, he was instrumental in helping Dak win the Stanley Cup, as part of a career that saw him record almost one point per game in 125 playoff competitions, giving him a captaincy that lasted 12 years – franchise learning. The longest.
“He learned in Anaheim on the knees of Scott Niedermeyer, Chris Pranger and Timu Seylan, but he became a leader himself,” Burke said.
“He did it by playing every role, including winning big faceoffs, fines, fights. Whatever. ”
So, the obvious question now is whether Getzalaf belongs to the hockey’s superiority as the Hall of Famer in Toronto.
Burke declined an opinion, citing the fact that he was on the selection committee.
He checked all the boxes, including a cup win, his international championship and his work in a community that has done so well to build hockey in Southern California.
His playmaking ability is such that he holds NHL records with 24 overtime assists and 11M Man in the league lore to captain and 1,000 points rack with the same team – a celebrity list that includes Hall of Famers Steve Izerman, Mario Lemieux, Joe Sack, Jean Bellevue, Alex Delvechio, Jerome Eginilla, Ron Francis, Sidney Crosby and others. .
He finished second in the Heart Trophy voting in 2013/14 and twice more in the top-seven.
And only 12 athletes have won two Olympic golds and a cup.
In fact, the Hall of Fame will come to call one of the best leaders of the era.
Walking through a long list of people to thank, Getzlaf especially suffocated when he praised the coaches who did so much to help him through the rigors of his long career.
He talks about how honored he was to be at the hands of his teammates – a young team he has spent the last few years advising.
“It means the world to me that I’ve influenced your life in some way,” said 88-year-old Getzlaf.M Recorded fifth-most assists in NHL scoring history, since joining the league.
“The team is everything to me and I will miss it the most. We’re going to fight guys who haven’t grown up together … we’ve all come together for a game of our choice. Friends, I love you. “
Probably none other than the man he broke up with and the one who went through the crushing demotion with Corey Perry earlier that year.
“Purse has been my best friend through all of this,” said Getzlaf, a voice cracking man who won Olympic gold in 2010 and 2014.
“We started this journey together and it would be great if we could finish it. I would like to express my special thanks for what he has done and what we have done together. He was an inspiration who may not have been gifted with what everyone in this room had, but he must have learned how to fight and claw for what he got. When we were kids, growing up in this organization he was my partner through all of this. We have supported each other all the way. ”