By Dave Link, Knoxville News Sentinel
Kyle Rank finally had enough.
Benched again at Bentley (Mass.) University, only two months ago. To make it worse, Rank was in his senior season. Sitting on the bench, fourth year as a walk-on. And he was miserable.
Then he got a text message that changed his life.
Knoxville Ice Bears defenseman Steve Wiedler had sent the text. His old friend asked Rank how he was doing. Not so good, Rank texted back, and then asked Wiedler a question.
"I said, 'Why?' and pretty much jokingly asked if (the Ice Bears) needed a guy to come play," Rank recalls. "He said they actually did, one of their guys got called up, they were struggling right now at the goaltender position, so I said, 'Great, give me your coach's number.' "
That was Feb. 3-4, the weekend Bentley Univer
sity won at home against Sacred Heart 5-2 before going on the road and tying Sacred Heart 3-3. Rank was with the team, and of course, riding the bench for the two games.
Two months later, Rank is the Ice Bears' No. 1 goalie and a huge part of the team's plan to win the 2012 Southern Professional Hockey League's President's Cup. The third-seeded Ice Bears play host to fourth-seeded Pensacola in Game 1 of their best-of-three semifinal series of the SPHL playoffs tonight at 7:30 at Civic Coliseum.
Rank's hockey career has taken a drastic turn for the better since he was on Bentley's bench.