- Golfer Benefits
When the United States men’s hockey team opens its Olympic competition against host China on Thursday, February 10, there will be two Mass Golf Members on the ice, likely at the same time.
Hopkinton native Sean Farrell, who grew up playing at Hopkinton Country Club, is a 20-year-old standout for the Harvard University men’s hockey team and will represent Team USA in the Olympics. The U.S. revealed its roster on January 13, just a few weeks after the NHL announced it wasn’t sending professionals to the Winter Games in Beijing.
“It’s unbelievable, playing in the Olympics is so crazy and such a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Farrell told his hometown newspaper The Hopkinton Independent. “I had an idea that it might be a possibility, but when my coach called me and told me it was official it was really special.”
On the other side of the ice will be Brandon Yip, the captain of Team China and a member of Miacomet Golf Club. A Boston University graduate and former NHL pro, Yip is of Canadian and Chinese descent and currently plays in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) for the Kunlun Red Star, league’s lone Chinese team.
Yip leads the 25-man roster that includes just six Chinese nationals. Yip and his fellow foreign skaters became eligible by playing for the Red Star. One of those players is Jake Chelios, son of five-time Team USA Olympian Chris Chelios. In addition to being able to field a competitive team for the Olympics, Yip and his squad have also embraced the role as hockey ambassador for the world’s most populous country.
“It’s been a great experience,” Yip said. “I always tell people how great hockey has been to me, and it’s a time for me to give back and bring a sport I love and have played my whole life and introduce it to young people in China.”
To honor his lineage, Yip will actually play under the name Ye Jinguang. He told the National Post that ‘Jinguang’ was a name given to him by his late grandmother.
“It’s nice to put it on display for my family here at the Olympics,” Yip told the Post. “It’s been an incredible journey, a great experience. All these guys have worked so hard. We’re just really excited to finally be here and be on this stage [to] make China proud.”
Despite being an undersized forward at 5-foot-9, Farrell has been a rising star in the hockey ranks. He played for St. Mark’s School in Southborough and was selected for the US National U17 and U18 teams. He committed to Harvard, which didn’t play last year due to COVID-19. However, he earned Player of the Year honors in the United States Hockey League (USHL), the nation’s top junior league, after recording 101 points (29 goals, 72 assists) in 53 games with the Chicago Steel.
The Montreal Canadiens drafted Farrell in the fourth round of the 2020 NHL Draft, and he has 8 goals, 11 assists for Harvard this season. Though he has to leave the Crimson mid-season, he said he’s excited to compete for the gold medal.
“It’s going to take a lot of effort from everyone every single day to complete that goal,” he told the Independent. “We will definitely try to take in as much as we can and enjoy the experience of being at the Olympics.”
When it comes to golf, Farrell has also developed into a decent player. Since the beginning of 2020, he’s dropped over 10 points on his Handicap Index® and is currently a 9.7.
Yip, meanwhile, competed in the Massachusetts Four-Ball Championship this past spring with Glen Sutton (Belmont Country Club), as the two met through golf outings on Nantucket. The pair finished 1-under 143 and finished T22 in the field of 193 teams. Yip got his start in golf around age 18 and began playing frequently when he became a hockey pro. But he credits fellow amateur Massachusetts golfers like Sutton and former NHL pro Ryan Whitney for convincing his to try his hand in competitive golf.
“Glenn is always speaking about Mass Golf events and how much fun they are,” said Yip, who carries a 0.3 Handicap Index® “I definitely have the golf bug and I’ve been working on my game the last couple years. The competitive juices are going and every putt and every shots means something so it’s ben a great experience.”
Team USA and Team China will compete at 8:10 a.m. ET Thursday. USA Network will have the broadcast.