Player Side of Sport
Post A Job

Retired Roughriders Receiver Chris Getzlaf Embraced His Role As Hometown Underdog

Chris Getzlaf | Former Wide Receiver | Saskatchewan Roughriders

I knew that just because I became a starter, it didn’t mean that it couldn’t be taken away from me. That’s why I continued to work as hard as I could day in day out, getting in extra practice reps, and being one of the first players in the building.

Chris Getzlaf

Former Wide Receiver

Saskatchewan Roughriders

× The interview with Chris Getzlaf was conducted via a typed conversation. Editing changes were made to make it easier to read while maintaining the voice of the interview.

You and your brother Ryan (NHL- Anaheim Ducks) were both professional athletes during a significant stretch of years. How did your childhood experience with your brother help shape you into the fierce competitor you were as a CFL player?

Having a brother that was extremely competitive helped shape the way each of us viewed and participated in sports.

Going head to head in various sports and striving to be the best allowed us to excel at all levels.

Having each other constantly pushing the limit of competition to the max ensured that we grew in each sport we participated in and gave us the motivation and determination to do them at a high level.

You were a hometown guy when you were traded to Saskatchewan in 2007, having grown up in Regina and played for the Prairie (Regina) Thunder of the CJFL and University of Regina in CIS (USports). What did it mean to be given the opportunity to be a member of the Riders and what key lessons did you learn that helped you for the rest of your career?

Getting the opportunity to play for my home town team was amazing and rarely experienced by many athletes for the length of time I was able to do so.

I learned so many valuable lessons through each level of football including commitment/dedication, teamwork, leadership, and respect just to name a few. 

Each level also taught me the value of hard work as I started on the bench before I ever got the opportunity to play and become a starter.

You started the 2008 on the practice roster, but worked your way into an active roster spot towards the end of the season. What was your experience like with having to battle your way for a roster spot on a team full of talented receivers?

It was a challenge that I was used to having gone through it at every level of football. Making sure that I understood the playbook the way it was meant to be run with knowing what every receiver position had to do on each and every play allowed me to grasp the opportunity when it came up in 2008. 

There was a great receiving core on the team so I knew that I would have to make the most of my opportunity in order to stay on the field going forward.  It was an amazing group that pushed each other every day; with veterans teaching the young guys how to be a pro. 

It’s those kinds of experiences that pave the way for a long career. 

You cemented yourself as a starter early during 2009, and never looked back after that. What did you learn about your ability to overcome adversity after all you had done to get into that position?

What I learned was already cemented into my preparation. You have to come to work every day with the mentality to get better.

That involves the mental preparation of the playbook, installation, film study, and the physical training in the weight room and on the practice field. 

I knew that just because I became a starter, it didn’t mean that it couldn’t be taken away from me.  That’s why I continued to work as hard as I could day in day out, getting in extra practice reps, and being one of the first players in the building. 

Again, the ability to overcome adversity was ingrained throughout my younger years in the game. 

2013 was a very special year for yourself and your team. You had over 1,000 receiving yards, and your second highest career totals for receiving yards and touchdowns. The Riders also won the Grey Cup at home in Regina, where you were named the Most Valuable Canadian. What did it mean to reach that culmination point in your career?

It means everything.  Every team goes into every season with the goal to win a championship. 

That year was extra special because the big game happened to be played on our home field and our team was able to overcome adversity throughout the season to eventually win the Grey Cup.

It was a year that small details will always be remembered.

Being able to overcome the heartbreaking losses that we as a team had in 2009 and 2010 to win in 2013 was a culmination of many years of working together as a team. 

You have been seen as an underdog throughout your football journey having taken the path of playing junior, then university and working your way up from the practice roster to active roster. How have you used what you learned from your CFL journey in the work you currently do?

Many lessons can be learned from playing sport as I mentioned in the first question and those lessons carry on in many areas of life.

Sport helped me create a competitive spirit that I bring to several aspects of my daily life which pushes me to put my all into whatever I’m doing. 

Being a Financial Advisor was a perfect complement to my football career while I was doing both and now that it is my sole form of employment, I continue to try and learn/grow in my relationships, education, and embracing technology. 

I’m thankful for my childhood involvement in numerous sports because they helped build a foundation of beliefs and values that are part of my everyday life. 

Matias Bueno Matias's Final Thoughts

It was awesome to get the chance to speak with Roughrider great Chris Getzlaf. I was able to watch most of his CFL career with Saskatchewan and watch him become a fan favourite in Regina, where he grew up. Despite his successes with the Riders, he faced adversity to obtain a starting position in the pros. Getzlaf went down the road less taken by playing junior football (CJFL), then university (CIS) and then being drafted. He is also one of the only Canadian players to play junior, university and professional football and win the Grey Cup all in the same city he grew up in. This is an outstanding achievement for him, and I look forward to seeing his successes as a financial advisor!

Connect With Chris Getzlaf