Getliffe was lucky to play at all. In 1933 he was in critical condition in hospital with a serious case of pneumonia.
Ray Getliffe made a brief appearance with Boston in 1935-36 and then became a regular on a line with Bill Cowley and Charlie Sands, and was second to Cowley as leading scorer for the Bruins in 1936-37. He combined with Dit Clapper and Cooney Weiland when Boston finished first and won the Stanley Cup in 1938-39.
Getliffe was traded to the Montreal Canadiens in 1939-40 where he played for six years, being on two first place teams and another Cup winner. In his first two years with the Habs he played with Sands and Toe Blake. Playing with Elmer Lach and Joe Benoit in 1942-43, he scored 5 goals in a game against Boston.
Ray suffered a bad face cut in 1943-44 and missed several games. However, back in action again, he made this his best scoring year working on a line with Phil Watson and Murph Chamberlain, scoring 28 goals in the 50 game schedule and the Canadiens coasted to first place and won the Stanley Cup.
He played one more year on another first place team before retiring. He was actually traded by Montreal to Detroit in September 1945, but he decided to retire rather than move southward. He put on the stripes for the next two seasons, refereeing NHL games.
Getliffe, a left-winger, played in 393 regular-season games during his career, scoring 136 goals and adding 137 assists to go along with 250 penalty minutes.
It should also be noted that it was Getliffe who is responsible for Maurice Richard's moniker "the Rocket." Getliffe was in awe of Richard in practice, and was prompted to say "That kid can take off like a rocket!" The other players picked up on his comment right away, and the nickname stuck. Prior to that, Maurice's early nickname was "The Comet."
Getliffe would go on to become a legendary senior golfer in Canada. Getliffe had a keen eye for talent on the links as well as at the rinks. In 1960 he was quoted as saying "I've just seen a kid who is going to become the greatest golfer in the world." Getliffe had just finished watching a young Jack Nicklaus.