Getzlaf urges kids to try new things

Andrew Schopp
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Saskatchewan Roughriders slotback Chris Getzlaf runs a pattern at Mosaic Stadium at Taylor Field last summer. The veteran receiver will be in Prince Albert on Wednesday evening in support of Red Riders football at an open house at Hillside Physical Health and Fitness.

While his brother took to the ice, the thrill of the touchdown lured Saskatchewan Roughriders slotback Chris Getzlaf to the grid iron.

On Wednesday, Getzlaf will be in P.A. to share his story at Hillside Physical Health and Fitness as he hopes to spark interest in organized sport and promote the Prince Albert Minor Football program.

The elder brother of Anaheim Ducks centre Ryan Getzlaf, Chris went down a different path, swapping his skates for a pair of cleats to pursue a career in professional football.

“When it came time to make a decision when it came to hockey, I was really liking football,” Chris explained. “A lot of my good friends were playing and I wanted to be captain of the team so I gave up competitive hockey to focus on something I was loving.”

Chris played college ball in his hometown for the University of Regina where in 16 CIS games he tallied 1,286 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns.

After attending training camp with the Hamilton Tiger Cats in 2007, Chris was traded to the Rough Riders with whom he went on to win his first Grey Cup following a 45-23 triumph over his former team on Nov. 24.

While his brother was off finding the back of the net in the NHL, Chris was going for the end zone.

It was the glory of the touchdown coupled with the bound he shared with his teammates that clinched Chris’ decision to pursue football in the hockey-mad province of Saskatchewan.  

“The feeling of scoring a touchdown was just so much more gratifying then just scoring a goal,” he said. “You could essentially score every game whereas scoring a touchdown is more of a rarity.”

Whether it’s football or hockey however, Chris’ message when he visits Hillside on Wednesday will be of the importance of organized sport to a youngster’s development.

Through his appearance, Chris hopes he will spark interest in P.A.’s youth to get involved in sports which he said made him the man he is today.

“The idea isn’t to convince them to do one sport over the other,” he explained. “It’s to convince them to get out, gain some exercise and try new things. A big message that will be behind it is for kids to get involved in organized sport and build healthy positive relationships.”

Chris added that he hopes his story will inspire some current young football players to push through adversity.

“A large part of my story has to do with me sitting on the bench of ever team that I ever played for,” he said. “I want to be able to deliver that message to some kids who aren’t seeing a lot of playing time to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The six-foot-one, 208-pound slot back has played in 95 regular season games, all but two with the Rough Riders. Throughout his career, Getzlaf has tallied 4,705 receiving yards.

From 6 to 7 p.m., Getzlaf will address present and future River Rider football players, with the doors opening to the general public for pictures and autographs at 7 p.m.

Registration for spring and fall River Rider programs will be available on Wednesday.

Hillside Physical Health and Fitness facility is located at the corner of Second Avenue and 17th Street.

Organizations: University of Regina, NHL

Geographic location:, Saskatchewan, Second Avenue 17th Street

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