The news today (yesterday, but today when writing this) that Tyler Seguin is now the top-rated Ontario Junior for the 2010 NHL Draft brought back some memories. Even though I never met the young man.
I met Tyler's dad, Paul, way back when. Back in the days when Paul spent his summers playing softball at a pretty decent level, before focusing on hockey. He eventually played for my Bramalea Blues junior team and then moved on to captain the University of Vermont. Tyler thinks his dad was a fighter, but the Paul Seguin I remember was a rock-hard defenseman who played hockey the right way and didn't drop the dukes much in junior. Hard to believe college hockey turned him into a Green Mountain Brawler Boy. But if that's the picture he wants for his son, who am I to disagree.
As a softball player, some of that burning desire came through. Bluntly, it was desire, not talent that got Paul on my rep team as an atom division Bramalea Buckaroo. He was a bit smaller than the other guys, but he never took a play off. I always wondered if he was having fun, because he didn't smile all that often. That wasn't all that unusual, according to his parents, who smiled a lot for him. They were still a bit reserved, but the kind of folk you'd want living next door. Solid, good people, a joy to be around for a kid (I was still in my teens despite coaching the reps) who didn't get along with all that many parents in those days. We didn't exactly win a lot of games that season.
But Paul seemed to survive my coaching and made the smart decision to eschew Junior A to play with the then Junior B Blues. I think we were still B's then, although it MIGHT have been the first season of Provincial Junior A, or even a season in the old outlaw Metro Junior Hockey League for the team. I'm old, the mind wanders. He knew then that he wasn't headed for the Big Show, but he was going to use hockey to get a first-rate education. And he did. And there was never a coach in any sport who ever was disappointed having Paul Seguin on his roster.
Paul's NHL dreams never got going, but it sure looks like Tyler's is just starting. Given his genes, it's impossible to believe he WON'T be a success.