U SPORTS MHKY alumni are taking pro golf by storm

Toronto, ON- Happy Gilmore, the infamous Adam Sandler character spent hours on the golf course decked out in a Boston Bruins hockey jersey, taking on opponents with a hockey-like demeanour. 

Mitch Theoret, Anthony Brodeur and Garrett Rank might not be wearing their U SPORTS hockey jerseys on the golf course, but the trio of former Canadian university hockey players are taking on professional golf better than Happy Gilmore ever could have ever wished to.

Former Ottawa Gee-Gee, Anthony Brodeur begins his pro journey

The son of Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender Martin Brodeur, Anthony played four years of U SPORTS hockey with the Ottawa Gee-Gees while also competing with the Gee-Gee’s Varsity golf program. After graduating from uOttawa earlier this year, the 25-year-old has joined the PGA Tour Canada, as he hopes to play his way into a long, top-flight, golf career. 

A former seventh round NHL Entry Draft selection of the New Jersey Devils, Brodeur had a studded multi-sport career in garnet and grey. Among his accolades were a pair of OUA Top 15 finishes, and a provincial bronze medal, both in golf, and an OUA silver medal with the hockey team in his senior year.

Although he is not at the heights of the PGA tour just yet, he has hopes of making it one day, and with hockey on the sidelines for now, that dream could turn into reality.  “I’m starting it a bit late, I’ve been in competitive golf for three years but I get to focus solely on golf now, which, up until this summer, I’ve never been able to do,” said Brodeur in an interview with PGA Tour Canada. 

Former Waterloo Warrior, Garrett Rank continuing to impress

Garrett Rank in the middle, at the University of Waterloo (Waterloo Warriors Athletics)

While Brodeur begins his journey in professional golf, former Waterloo Warrior, Garrett Rank has made his name known on the amateur levels of the game. From Elmira, ON, Rank has been extremely successful over the last few years, in 2019 he had a pair of top-three finishes, and while 2020 has not been as successful, it has certainly been more eventful. 

The 32-year-old has a current tie to hockey, but it is not U SPORTS related; he is an NHL referee. When the NHL elected to play their postseason tournaments in secluded bubbles in Toronto, ON and Edmonton, AB, Rank was not among the chosen referees, so he has taken his time to the fairways. 

Referee Garrett Rank discusses a call with Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews on December 23,... [+] 2017 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
Garrett Rank speaks with Chicago Blackhawks forward, Jonathan Toews (NHL Images/Andy Marlin)

Rank has been in the United States since the beginning of the summer, competing in the amateur tournaments he usually would in a normal year, but was left longing for Canadian tournaments which were cancelled due to COVID-19. However, the NHL referee has been able to compete, something that was doubtful earlier in the year. 

As an amateur in a field of professionals, Rank failed to make the cut at the Evans Scholars Invitational, a recent stop on the Korn Ferry Tour, but his presence was the culmination after years of hard work and perseverance. 

Rank made the Korn Ferry Tour after a resume that would silence anybody. He’s played U SPORTS hockey, dominated the amateur circuit, represented Canada internationally, and BEAT CANCER. 

He may have only played seven games of U SPORTS hockey, but his career as a golfer/NHL referee is one of the most exciting sports stories right now. 

Former Ryerson Ram/UPEI Panther, Mitch Theoret caddying Taylor Pendrith at the U.S Open

Catching up with Ryerson legends: How a former Rams hockey player became a  professional caddie | The Eyeopener
Mitch Theoret (Alex D’addese)

Mitch Theoret has only been a full-time caddy for Canadian golfer Taylor Pendrith for a year, but the two have been alongside each other for a long time. The Ontario-based duo used to play with each other as youngsters, and have had great chemistry in competition, as they prepare to take on their biggest challenge yet, the U.S. Open.

Pendrith has been competing on the Korn Ferry Tour but accumulated enough points to qualify the duo for the U.S Open, one of professional golf’s four major tournaments. “Should be pretty fun,” Theoret said to The Ryersonian. “Not too many people get to caddie on the PGA Tour, let alone caddie in a major. So it’ll definitely be a pretty cool experience.”

The 2020 U.S Open gets underway on Sept. 17 in New York, and Pendrith will hope to channel some brilliant play to keep rising through the ranks of professional golf. Pendrith never played in U SPORTS, however, he is a brand ambassador for the Ontario Hockey Leauge’s Mississauga Steelheads, a team that regularly sends players to U SPORTS hockey. 

Canadian Taylor Pendrith takes first-round lead at Panamá Championship -  Golf Canada
Pendrith wears a shirt with the Steelheads logo (Getty Images/Golf Canada)

Theoret spent three years in U SPORTS with the Ryerson Rams and UPEI Panthers, before moving on to play two years of professional hockey in Norway and the Czech Republic. Even though Theoret has played under the spotlight of 5000+ exuberant supporters on VHK Vestien in the Czech second division, he has never been under the same attention (albeit remote) he and Pendrith will receive at the U.S Open.

The trio of U SPORTS hockey alumni taking on the world of professional golf are far better than Happy Gilmore was, and ever will be, although it would be entertaining to see a Waterloo Warriors jersey on a pro golf tour. Fortunately, the alumni they can let their skills do the talking and do not have to rely on a Happy Gilmore-esque hockey sweater to make themselves noticed.

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