Lachlan Getz could have left, but he didn’t.
At the height of the COVID pandemic, the Chilliwack Chiefs blueliner watched teammates like roommate Ayrton Martino walk out the door, looking for playing time they couldn’t get with the BCHL on hold. Getz thought about following them to the USHL, and said he came close to making that call.
But he didn’t.
He had a billet family he loved (the Kikkerts), a Chiefs coaching staff he trusted and a development plan he believed in.
He knew lots of guys who didn’t have a team at all. They were just sitting around doing nothing.
“I thought that if I stuck the year out, developed and built a really strong foundation, I could come back this year and make a really big impact,” the Illinois product said. “It was in December I told myself, ‘If you’re happy staying here the rest of the year and developing without any games at all, then you can stay.’
“And that’s ultimately what I chose.”
Getz settled in, worked hard, and when the BCHL announced a 20 game pod season the 19-year-old was happy.
Then he broke his foot.
Less than two games in, after months and months of waiting, his season was done.
“Yep, that happened,” he said with a grimace.
Getz talked about how practices are like homework, and games are like the test. His test was cut short, which was super frustrating.
“I thought I developed a lot, but I didn’t get to take that test to really see,” he said. “When the hub season came around I was so excited. So relieved. I spent eight months out here and it finally paid off. I made the right decision. Then I got dealt a bad hand.”
Getz said it didn’t feel real at first. The next day brought an X-ray and a CT scan and the news that his season was over.
Again, he could have left. Mentally, it probably would have been better to go home to the family he was missing. But development wise, he thought it would be good to shadow the Chiefs coaches and watch games from upstairs.
“I wanted to see how Shawsy (Chiefs video coach Andrew Shaw) does things, and see how coach (Brian) Maloney and coach (Brad) Rihela run things, and maybe see things from a different perspective,” he said. “If I’d gone home when I first got injured, it might have been nice for the first week, but then the next six or seven weeks would have been the absolute pits.
“I’m a pretty active guy, and going home and being in a walking boot, not being able to play golf with my dad or do anything, I think that would have made everything a lot worse.”
Getz did head home after the season, and came back re-energized, ready to finally take that test.
“Strength was a really big one I was worried about,” he said. “I was in the best shape of my life when I got hurt, but then there were 14 weeks where I could do some upper body work but I couldn’t run or walk or bike, and that set me back a lot.
“I didn’t think I could get back to where I was over two summer months, but I can honestly say I did much as I could,” said Getz. “Between committing to the work, focusing on my diet and giving 110 per cent, I feel I really excelled this summer.”