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NHL referee qualifies to play in U.S. Open golf championship

Rank made debut as official in 2015

by Mike Battaglino / Staff Writer

Garrett Rank, who refereed 76 NHL games this season, qualified for and will play in the U.S. Open golf championship this month.

"[Hockey and golf] are high-pressure sporting events," Rank told the Marietta Daily Journal. "It would be really cool in 2018 to say that I played with the best players in the world in a major championship, and officiate the best hockey league in the world."

The 30-year-old, a full-time NHL referee since 2016, made the U.S. Open on Monday, when he tied for first at a sectional qualifying event in Roswell, Georgia. His caddie was NHL referee Dan O'Rourke, ESPN said.

The 118th U.S. Open Championship will be held at Shinnecock Hills in Southampton, New York, from June 14-17.

"Realistically, I think I'm capable of making the cut and I would love to make the cut," Rank told The Record of Kitchener, Ontario. "If I could play four rounds at the U.S. Open, I would be extremely thrilled."

Rank, a native of Elmira, Ontario, is the 78th-ranked amateur golfer in the world. He made his NHL debut Jan. 15, 2015, and has officiated 187 NHL games, getting his first Stanley Cup Playoff experience this postseason as an injury replacement for linesman Steve Barton in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round between the Washington Capitals and Columbus Blue Jackets.

Rank, who had testicular cancer in 2011, finished second at the 2012 U.S. amateur championship and played for Canada at the 2015 Pan Am Games. He has been an official in the American Hockey League and ECHL.

"I think about it a little bit, but when you look at 2018 and figure you've officiated a couple of periods in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and you get to have a couple rounds in the U.S. Open, playing in a major championship against the best players in the world, you can't really argue with that," Rank told The Record.

"I'm quite happy with having a job and being able to play golf at this level on the side."

All photos courtesy of the USGA

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