Anaheim Ducks’ captain Ryan Getzlaf says that the 2021-22 season will be his last within the NHL.
Come April 29, the Regina, SK. product will be done his professional hockey playing career, but that does not necessarily mean he will be completely done with hockey
“I don’t think I’m a person that can just step back and not really do anything,” Getzlaf said at his retirement press conference. “I still build stuff at my house every day when I’m home. This organization has given me a lot. My whole goal has been to get back to the Stanley Cup since I’ve been there, and I don’t really feel like that journey is over yet.”
The 36-year-old joined the league in 2005 with what was then known as Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. He has gone on to record 1,013 points in 1,150 games over his career spent solely with Anaheim, seeing the team change its name, and its colour scheme – more than once.
“I’ve always said I was going to let my body and mind dictate when I was going to retire,” Getzlaf said of his 17-year career. “I remember talking to my buddies when I first came in the league, and I thought that was going to be at about 26. Definitely over-lasted what I thought I would. The grind of the everyday, getting up, the preparation for each season, gets harder and harder as you get older.”
The 12-year captain currently has just three goals and 31 points, but sits tied for fourth on his team in points, despite missing time due to injury this year. He leads the Ducks in career games played, assists and playoff scoring. He won a Stanley Cup in 2007, while adding two Olympic gold medals with Canada.
“It’s been an honor to play in the NHL and spend my entire professional career with one organization,” Getzlaf said. “None of this would have been possible without my family, who offered unwavering love and support each step of the way.”
Anaheim won five consecutive Pacific Division titles, while making it to the Western Conference Final in both 2015 and 2017. Despite seeing significant turnover and an emphasis on the new youth movement, the wily veteran has stuck it out even though his team will not be making the playoffs for what will be the fourth-straight year.
“It means the world to me to know I’ve had an impact in your life somehow,” Getzlaf said of his teammates. “Team is everything to me and the thing I’ll miss the most. Going to battle with guys who didn’t grow up together… we all came together for a game we love. I love you guys.”
The Ducks play their final home game on April 24 against St. Louis, before concluding the regular season on April 29 in Dallas.