Former NHL forward Ray Whitney has made it to the Rio Olympics. As a caddie for Canadian golfer and ardent Calgary Flames fan Graham DeLaet.
The opening round of the men’s golf competition begins Thursday, with DeLaet teeing off at 7:30 a.m. local time in Rio with Adilson da Silva of Brazil and Byeong Hun An of South Korea.
NHL players, past or present, caddying for pro golfers has been done before, including James Wisniewski on the bag for his friend and world No. 1-ranked Jason Day.
DeLaet doesn’t seem hesitant about relying on Whitney to relay some of his experience in high-pressure situations.
“He’s one of the most competitive people I know. He’s a Stanley Cup champion (in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes) and he knows all about pressure,” said DeLaet, as per TSN.
“I will lean on him a little bit more for support than advice maybe a lot of times, but he knows my game well enough and he knows when to kind of give me a little shove and say, ‘Let’s get going,’ and when to maybe let me blow off some steam.”
DeLaet has been a Flames fan for years, dating back to the days of Theo Fleury.
“I grew up in Moose Jaw when (Theo) Fleury was playing there for the Warriors,” DeLaet told the Calgary Herald last year. “He got drafted (by the Flames in 1987), won a Cup there in his rookie year, so I was pretty much hooked. I was seven years old in ’89.
“I was pretty much locked in from there on.”
Prior to Rio, the last time golf was part of the Olympics was in 1904.
At the age of 42, Whitney officially retired from pro hockey in January of 2015. He scored 385 goals and 1,064 points in 1,330 career NHL games.