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Most impressive people in hockey age 40 and younger

New Jersey Devils coach John Hynes was 25 years old when he first got into coaching. After finishing his hockey-playing career at Boston University, he dove right into the profession as a graduate assistant.

Getting into the coaching business during his 20s allowed him to attack his passion with the kind of relentless drive that only comes with the energy and sheer amount of time you have at that age. It also meant he was typically the youngest guy on the staff and found eager mentors along the way, whether it be at the University of Wisconsin or the U.S. National Development program.

“That’s a benefit of being a younger guy,” Hynes said when we chatted earlier this week. “You get exposed to a lot of coaches and that growth was really important.”

The result of that laser focus on improvement and gaining experience is a coaching career that placed Hynes behind an NHL bench at the age of 40. He’s now the youngest coach in the NHL and has his Devils off to a surprisingly strong start.

“It isn’t about age,” he said. “It’s about bringing value.”

At 40 years old, he’s already proving the value he’s bringing as Ray Shero’s first coaching hire in New Jersey.