ANAHEIM — Rookie center Trevor Zegrass, 20, earlier on Wednesday stepped into the back of the lecture and took off his hat in front of Clegg Lights and apologized for sweating hair. He smiled broadly, laughed and talked about his sense of anticipation in the hours before his first NHL opening night.
Ryan Getzlaff, a 36-year-old veterans center, went ahead. He didn’t have a hat to remove. His clean shaven head was shining in the harsh light shining on him. He smiled broadly, laughed and talked about his sense of anticipation a few hours before his 17th NHL opening night.
“I’m definitely excited,” said Zegrass. “This is a first for me and a group of other people with fans (in the stands). Playing a team out of the division (Winnipeg Jets) once in a while is going to be a little new. Honestly, I don’t know what to expect. I think it’s going to be awesome.”
Getzlaf shared Zegras’ enthusiasm for a fresh start.
“Very exciting,” said Getzlaff, the Ducks’ longest-serving captain, having held the position since 2010-11. “Having come to us last year, with no fans, such a tough season, that kind of stuff, it all gives a positive sign now. We want to go back there with the fans now.
“It’s fun to watch some of these (young) guys and their growth over the past year and their expectations for this year, to see how they handle that stuff. I’m already excited at this point. To be able to go out there and play the game we love in front of people, and enjoy the whole process, that would be great.
The Zegrass entered the Ducks’ season-opening game against the Jets with 13 points from 24 games, meaning he was still classified as a rookie in the eyes of the NHL. Getzlaff entered a team-record 1,101 games, with 982 points, six shy of the franchise record of Hall of Fame right-winger Teemu Selene.
Zegrass, 6-feet, 185 pounds, hails from Bedford, New York.
Getzlaf, 6-3, 228, is from Regina, Saskatchewan.
No two men could represent the two ends of the Ducks’ 2021-22 spectrum more than Zygrass and Getzlaff. Zegras is the face of the future of the franchise, and perhaps its present as well. Getzlaf is the face of the team’s past, and perhaps even its present, given its long-term impact and importance.
Luke Gaine, a special education teacher at Westminster High School, was honored as the 21st Duck, “someone who embodies characteristics such as great perseverance, character, courage, inspiration or someone who has made a significant contribution to our community.” ”
Gaine was a football player at Edison High School in Huntington Beach when he was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia in 2008, which required a bone marrow transplant. Jacob, his youngest brother, was a matchmaker. After a long hospital stay, Luke recovered and later devoted his life to helping others.