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Dan Hinote

Dan Hinote never intended to become a hockey player.

He entered college planning on becoming an FBI agent, a career he still expressed interest in pursuing when his playing days are over.

"I think it's the challenge mentally and being able to help people solve cases," he said. "When I was growing up, the FBI was held in pretty high esteem. They've kind of had their knocks here and there in the media, but they still do great things and what they do for the country is immeasurable."

Hinote began his journey to the FBI when he entered the U.S. Military Academy.

"I figured that would the best springboard into the FBI I could get,'' he said.

But then Hinote's hockey career took off. The Colorado Avalanche took him in the seventh round of the 1996 draft. Dan - who was born in Florida but raised in Minnesota - had to make a quick decision - leave the academy and give hockey a shot before crossing a nearing deadline that would have seen him commit the next five years to the Army.

"It wasn't easy to leave because the academy is the academy,'' Hinote said. "You're so proud to be there. But the way my family and I figured, you can always go back to school. Your window of opportunity for hockey is so small. You never want to look back and wish you did something."

Hinote decided to give hockey his best shot. It turned out to be a great decision resulting in a 500-plus game career which saw him win the Stanley Cup.

We would assume after going through an Army boot camp, an NHL training camp is a piece of cake.

"I think (West Point) changes everybody,'' Hinote said. "You fully understand what you're capable of taking mentally. Once you go through that first year, you realize the capability of your mind and body. After that, you think, 'I went through that. I can handle (anything).' "

Hinote broke in with the Avalanche in the 1999-2000 season and would be a nice depth player for their 2001 Stanley Cup championship.

A versatile player who could play any forward position, Hinote was applauded as a hard-working team player and a relentless forechecker. He was a regular penalty killer and a real energy player who gave it everything he had on the ice.

The always smiling Hinote was also recognized for his equally tireless efforts off the ice. He frequently participate in community and charity events through out his NHL career.

Hinote married Jenny McCarthy's younger sister Amy. The wedding was attended by comedian Jim Carrey, who came dressed as Fidel Castro.

That likely would not have happened if Hinote stuck to his original plan and committed to the Army.

Hinote would become an assistant coach in Columbus briefly before opting not to renew his contract. He moved to Chicago for family reasons.

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