Bridgewater native Getson hungry for more
Keith Getson remembers his first training camp with the Charlottetown Islanders like it was yesterday.
The then 16-year-old Bridgewater native came to Prince Edward Island after being a third-round pick in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft along with other prospects like first-rounder Mitchell Balmas and Samuel Guilbault. Charlottetown had just finished its first season as the rebranded Islanders and was building around youngsters Daniel Sprong, Alexandre Goulet, Kameron Kielly and
David Henley. It added Filip Chlapik in the Canadian Hockey League import draft to go with veterans Ryan Mackinnon, Ross Johnston and Oliver Cooper, who were acquired in off-season trades.
“I was excited to get underway in my first Q camp and at the same time I was nervous as hell because I had no idea . . . what was going to happen,” Getson said Tuesday night. “I knew Mitchell Balmas and Mitch helped me get through a lot.”
Getson said his first season was about getting his feet wet in major junior and leaning on veterans like Mackinnon and Johnston as role models and mentors.
Now, the shoe – or skate, if you will – is on the other foot.
Getson is a five-year veteran of the league who hopes to spread his knowledge to the next wave of Isles youngsters like defenceman Lukas Cormier, the Isles first-round pick, when camp opens Friday with fitness training. The team hits the ice for the first time Saturday at the APM Centre in Cornwall.
“I don’t want the younger kids to be nervous,” Getson said. “I’d rather them feel comfortable and everything right off the bat because when you’re comfortable you play a lot better.”
Getson made the Islanders out of training camp in his rookie campaign and spent much of the season on a fourth line with Balmas and Guilbault. Getson quickly earned the trust of head coach Gordie Dwyer with his responsible play and found a role killing penalties.
On Oct. 26, 2014, the 16-year-old blocked numerous shots, including three on a thirdperiod penalty kill, to preserve a 2-1 win over the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. It is still talked about by players, staff and fans who saw it first-hand.
Getson was noted for his willingness to learn and desire to get better during the early part of his career. It hasn’t stopped.
He could still be seen as one of the first guys on the ice during last season’s practices. When practices could get stale in the middle of the season, Getson would be the hardest-working guy on the ice.
Getson’s role has grown during the past four seasons and his leadership has been key to the team’s success the past two years.
While pleased to have gone deep in the playoffs the past two seasons, the team still wasn't able to accomplish its ultimate goal of lifting the President Cup.
That still stings for Getson and it has left him with a sense of unfinished business.
“Coming into this season, my only goal is to make it to the final and eventually to win a championship for P.E.I. and make it to the Memorial Cup,” Getson said. “They came out and supported us like crazy. . . If there was any place that deserves a championship I think it would be P.E.I.”
The Islanders surprised many people throughout the league last season. They won’t sneak up on anyone this year and Getson knows the work ethic that was apparent last season has to be there and more this year.
“The past two years we only made it to the third round. You can sugar-coat it all you want, but if you lose in the third round, you’re still losing,” he added. “If you want to win a championship, you have to win the fourth round. We have to put in even more work than what we have the past two years.”
Getson will be entering the season without his linemate of the past two seasons. Pascal Aquin finished his junior career and signed a pro deal with the AHL’S Rochester Americans.
“Over the last two years, Pascal has been unbelievable. He’s made me better and I hope I made him better,” Getson said.
“I could only dream basically what happened to him, happens to me. That’s what I have been dreaming for my whole life.”
Bridgewater’s Keith Getson is entering his fifth training camp with the Charlottetown Islanders.