NHL Referee and Cancer Survivor to Play in the 2018 U.S. Open

Justin B. News Leave a Comment

With the U.S. Open coming up in just a few days, there are many amazing stories that are sure to garner much attention. None might be more amazing, however, than that of Garrett Rank.

Rank isn’t on the PGA TOUR and isn’t even a professional golfer. He is actually a recognizable face in a different sport, hockey.

Rank just completed his third year as an NHL referee. When he’s not calling penalties and patrolling the blue line, however, Rank is trying to find time to hit the links. The Canadian was not selected to a crew after the first round of the Stanley Cup Finals, which allowed him to play in a U.S. Open Qualifier, making a big dream come true.

After participating in the qualifier with another referee, Dan O’Rourke, carrying his bag, Rank did well enough to earn one of three spots in the U.S. Open this weekend at Shinnecock Hills. Rank has played in other events before, particularly the Canadian Open, but this will be an even bigger step for the sports lover.

Referee Garrett Rank is shown during the NHL game between the…

Referee Garrett Rank is shown during the NHL game between the Nashville Predators and the Carolina Hurricanes, held on December 21 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

If that wasn’t enough of a great story, Rank has also suffered through one of the biggest adversaries anyone ever has to deal with, cancer.

He was diagnosed with testicular cancer back in 2011. Luckily, it was caught early enough that he was cancer free the same year but the backlash was that he was unable to continue his athletic career in hockey or golf, pushing him into his refereeing career.

Being through all of that and being where he is now, Rank is just thankful for this opportunity. “The reaction from the hockey community has been huge,” Rank said. “I think every official on our staff sent me a text and congratulated me and said they’d be following along and are really proud of me. I even had a few phone calls asking if it was me, like if that was the same Garrett Rank. I don’t know too many other people with the same name. But yeah, that’s me. I’m going to the U.S. Open.”

While many shouldn’t expect Rank to be a strong competitor this week, it’s just awesome that he is at the event. Hopefully, Rank will be able to cherish the moment and have the time of his life living his dream.

Cover Image via YouTube

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