Getzlaf brothers reuniting for Saskatchewan Roughrider Foundation Winter Classic

It will be a family affair at the Saskatchewan Roughrider Foundation Winter Classic in Saskatoon.

The Getzlaf brothers, Ryan and Chris, will be teammates as part of the hockey fundraiser. Team Getzlaf will be led by Chris, the former Roughriders wide receiver, while on the other side of the rink, Team Lauther will be captained by Roughriders kicker Brett Lauther.

This year’s game will mark the second edition of the Winter Classic. Last year, Lauther captained a squad that picked up a 7-6 win over a team led by former Roughriders wide receiver Rob Bagg.

Ryan Getzlaf will travel from Tennessee for the Roughrider Foundation Winter Classic this weekend. The 38-year-old retired from the NHL after the 2022 season, ending a career that included a Stanley Cup title (2007), a World Junior Hockey Championships (2005), and a pair of Olympic Gold Medals (2010,2014).

Ryan Getzlaf. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara, File)

The former Anaheim Duck noted that it’s a rare opportunity for the brothers to compete as teammates, each forming their path in the sporting world. He did say they spend some time in their youth tossing around the pigskin.

Chris recalled a memorable moment the brothers got to share was winning a Bantam Football Championship, winning the game 14-13, and said it’s been a long time since they’ve competed together.

Chris Getzlaf at last year’s Winter Classic. Photo: Saskatchewan Roughriders

“It’s been multiple years since we’ve shared the field, whether that is football and hockey, just makes this weekend that more exciting.”

On the gridiron, the 41-year-old would claim a couple of additional championships during his career, winning the 2007 Grey Cup when he was on the Roughriders practice roster and playing a significant role in Saskatchewan’s Grey Cup win 2013.

Even though they branched off into their careers, the bond between the brothers remained strong.

The former Roughriders wide receiver said there was a constant flow of communication with his brother.

“Checking in each other’s lives, even after a bad game,” said Chris, “I think we were there more so outside of the game, making sure that the game isn’t transitioning into negative effects in outside life.”

Ryan noted the strong support system they were in place.

“When you’re talking about dealing with family and sports, you can have a lot of resentment, you can have a lot of different things, we were able to push each other, to be the best at what we did, what an opportunity to have different sports that kind of relate in a certain way but allows us to be kind of person and grow as an individual in our family.”

Plenty of athletic talent will be joining the Getzlafs on the ice on Saturday.

Current Roughriders suiting up for the game including, Lauther are, Jorgen Hus, Brayden Lenius, Mitch Picton and Noah Zerr.

Alumni members that taking part are Jason Clermont and Andy Fantuz.

Former professional hockey players involved with the game are Ryan Bayda, Byron Bitz, Eric Gryba and Wacey Rabbit.

Luke McGeough, the son of late longtime NHL referee Mick McGeough, will officiate the game.

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