Hollywood's hockey roots: Celebrities who used to be 'prospects'

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As we enter the final days before the 2019-20 NHL season begins, we're on the lookout for underrated prospects. We dug through EliteProspects.com to see if we could find some under-the-radar players who could help fill some holes around the league. Instead, what we found was a veritable pipeline from the ice to Hollywood:

Note: Click on each name to see the person's career stats.

Keanu Reeves

Years before you knew him as Neo or John Wick, Keanu Reeves went by "The Wall." When his family moved to Toronto, the young Reeves picked up street hockey and ice hockey and primarily spent his time as a goalie. However, it was when he attended De La Salle College that he earned his nickname, and team MVP honors, for his athleticism in net.

According to The Hockey News, he was good enough to earn a tryout with the OHL's Windsor Spitfires. This was all a natural segue to his first movie role: a goalie in the Rob Lowe and Patrick Swayze-led "Youngblood." Through the years, he has remarked on how cool it would have been to play in the NHL or on the Canadian Olympic team, but he has no regrets about taking the road that led him to be one of Hollywood's biggest stars.

Steve Carell

Before he loved lamp, Steve Carell prevented other teams from lighting them.

Carell grew up in hockey-mad Boston and played goalie well enough to win a squirt-level national championship and later play for Division III Denison University in Ohio. Carell briefly entertained the thought of competing for a Division I starting job, but as a wise man once said, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take," and he chose the tougher path of trying to make it in show business.

Recently seen cheering on the Boston Bruins in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, Carell credits the championship Bruins teams of the '70s for inspiring him to start playing hockey as a child. At age 51, Carell had surgery on his hip to fix a hockey injury suffered 12 years earlier, and he told David Letterman in 2013 that he was ready to start playing again soon. He still plays rec league hockey in California and told CNN in 2014 that he was "the LeBron James of rec-league hockey."

Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber? What do you mean? The Canadian heartthrob might never have had a formal high school or college hockey career -- blame the fame -- but he is quite visible on the ice. Bieber played in the 2017 NHL All-Star Celebrity Shootout, in which he was famously driven into the boards by Chris Pronger. The Biebs plays pickup hockey to stay in shape while on the road and has posted Instagram videos of his goals.

He also has an impressive jersey collection, including a Maple Leafs jersey (obviously), a Devils jersey, a Coyotes jersey and even a Syracuse college hockey jersey that he wore on a date with wife Hailey Baldwin.

Evel Knievel

The daredevil, known for more than 75 stunt jumps, once had a minor league hockey career. As a teenage prospect, Robert "Evel" Knievel played for the Charlotte Checkers, but the legendary motorcycle driver's Checkers career ended when he refused to ride the team bus, according to 1959 newspaper reports.

What happened next was even more impressive. No, not the Caesars Palace jump; Knievel returned to his hometown of Butte, Montana, to be the player-owner of the Butte Bombers in 1959. He persuaded the Czechoslovakian national team to play a pre-Olympics exhibition in 1960 in Butte. The Bombers and starting center Knievel lost 22-3 and did not have enough money to pay the Czech delegation for the game.

Paris Hilton

In a 2007 interview, hotel heiress Paris Hilton was asked about her special talents, and she responded: "shopping, ice hockey and cooking." Huh? Well, before dominating tabloid headlines in the mid-2000s, Hilton was part of the 1998 Canterbury School hockey team. The school counts 1994 Olympian Mike Dunham among its alumni.

Hilton's reviews from the Connecticut prep school were ... not that hot. For starters, she didn't know what position she played, as she "would always move around." A former teammate told media that Hilton wasn't a particularly good skater and spent more of her concentration on trying to stand up. Perhaps the biggest sign that Hilton wasn't destined for success on the ice was that her helmet wouldn't fit properly, and when teammates removed it, they found her banana hair clip underneath to keep her hair in place.

Dave Coulier

Years before playing Uncle Joey on "Full House," the Detroit native was an avid hockey player.

He played hockey at Harper Woods High School in Michigan and continued to play recreationally as an adult after moving to California, even incorporating it into the plot of a "Full House" episode.

Coulier's hockey connections run deep, as he has worn Red Wings jerseys on "Full House" and "Fuller House," has served as an assistant coach at the NHL Centennial Alumni Game, and introduced co-star Candace Cameron to her husband, Valeri Bure.

Taylor Kitsch

The British Columbia native has played hockey since the age of 3 and was good enough to make it to junior league. The "Friday Night Lights" star played for the then-Langley Hornets in the BCHL before a knee injury ended his hockey career. As one door closed, another opened, and Kitsch transitioned into modeling and acting, moving to the United States soon afterward.

Michael Buble

Buble didn't spend any time in junior hockey or college hockey, but he is an owner of the WHL's Vancouver Giants. Like many Vancouver natives, Buble played hockey as a child, although he did so while dedicating himself to a career in music. The crooner once postponed a concert to fly home to Vancouver to witness Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. It didn't end well, as the Stanley Cup is one thing Vancouver hasn't met yet. Meanwhile, Buble has a full-size hockey rink at his mansion near Vancouver.

Richard Dean Anderson

He is known for his portrayal of the ever-resourceful secret agent Angus MacGyver, but acting wasn't the first career goal for the Minnesota native.

As a teenager, he wanted to be a professional hockey player, but his career ended because of repeated arm injuries.

Years later, Anderson launched the Celebrity All-Stars hockey team, a group of actors and other personalities who played hockey to raise money for charity. Teammates included Alex Trebek, Michael J. Fox and Alan Thicke. Through his fundraising efforts, Anderson has been able to share the ice with legends including Bobby Orr, Mike Eruzione and Gordie Howe.

Tom Glavine

The 1984 NHL draft is notable for a few reasons. In addition to producing three Calder Trophy winners, it featured five Hall of Famers -- but only four in hockey. Baseball Hall of Famer Glavine was a good enough center to be drafted in the fourth round, ahead of Hockey Hall of Famers Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille.

Unfortunately for the Los Angeles Kings, who drafted him, Glavine was also selected by the Atlanta Braves in the second round of the MLB draft just five days earlier, and he chose baseball. One scouting report on the Massachusetts native mentioned his good skating and scoring ability, as well as a quick release on his wrist shot. A former Kings assistant told USA Today that he saw Glavine as a third-line center who could match up with the other team's top line. We think he made an OK choice to go with the Braves.