Referee Garrett Rank has stepped up his game on the links. Now he’ll be taking a big step up on the ice.
The NHL has reportedly promoted Rank to full-time referee. He spent the past season splitting time between the NHL and the AHL. The 28-year-old official received the news on Wednesday. Rank, who recently repeated as the Canadian Mid-Amateur Champion, is currently playing at the RBC Canadian Open.
Rank made his NHL debut on January 15, 2015, working a game between the Minnesota Wild and Buffalo Sabres. He was joined on the ice by referee Paul Devorski and linesmen Brad Kovachik and Brian Murphy. Since then, he’s gone on to officiate a total of 77 games – 31 in the NHL and 46 in the AHL. The native of Elmira, Ontario, was also chosen to work the AHL’s Calder Cup Playoffs.
With the promotion, Rank shifts to a full-time schedule in the National Hockey League. That means a new routine, a new number — Rank is expected to drop his #48, as all full-time referees wear #40 or lower — and some new golf courses to play on his days off.
Rank’s golf skills have already made him a bit of a celebrity among those on the ice. From the Global News:
Rank officiated more than 30 NHL games last year, and says rumours began circulating about his golf abilities over the course of the season.
Occasionally a player would ask if perhaps they could tip it up the next time Rank was in town. Rank said he had words at a game this year with Los Angeles Kings’ star Drew Doughty. Doughty, who played in the pro-am at the Canadian Open this week, seemed surprised when he saw Rank at the tournament.
“So this is what you do, is it?” Doughty asked Rank.
Rank has done an admirable job of balancing his like on skates and on spikes. He talked about his schedule with Golf Digest:
“The hockey season is September through June, and by that time the golf season is well underway,” he says.
Rank explains that refereeing is his No. 1 priority and job, although you’d never know it by watching him on the course. His tournament schedule depends on his hockey schedule, and he has missed the last two U.S. Mid-Amateurs for NHL training camp, which for officials involves strength and conditioning tests, rule sessions and team building.
Best of luck to Garrett Rank at the Canadian Open and in his first full season as an NHL referee!