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The Loop

NHL ref, cancer survivor, and total legend qualifies for 2018 U.S. Open

NHL: NOV 05 Hurricanes at Predators

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Not all heroes wear capes, but for Garrett Rank—NHL referee, certified badass, and probable off-hours crime fighter—that's because it's really tough to skate while wearing a velour parachute. Rank makes his heroism show in other ways, however. First of all, he's an NHL ref, which is just a fancy term for "pain magnet." Second, he battled and beat testicular cancer back in 2011. Finally, he just qualified for the FREAKIN' U.S. OPEN (AKA your personal dream, but hey, let's not make this about you).

Rank qualified for the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills by shooting back-to-back 71s during a 36-hole qualifying event at Ansley Golf Club in Roswell, Georgia on Monday. On the bag for Rank was fellow NHL ref Daniel O'Rourke, because hockey guys have to stick together, obviously.

The moment is sure to be intimidating for Rank, but he's not totally, er, green. Rank has finished runner-up at the U.S. Open Mid-Amateur Championship, 77th in the Canadian Open, and made the 2012 Golf Canada Team. Nonetheless, he's still pretty psyched about the prospect of playing alongside JT, DJ, and BEEF next week, telling SportsNet:

"I was next to the best players in the world on the ice. Next week I get to play with the best golfers in the world. It's a pretty cool life I'm living right now."

Amen to that.