TORONTO, Ontario -- I'm sitting here typing with Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (filmed locally) playing in the background, chomping on pizza (pizza) washed down by chocolate milk (as I couldn't track down any Coke Zero) contemplating my whirlwind Tuesday tour of Toronto with local boy (and Bruins forward) Tyler Seguin
and his GTA-based entourage of 20-somethings.
The whole day, beginning with my own late-night stop at Sonic Boom (a terrific record shop) all the way through apps at Real Sports had me reminiscing about my own college days. But the surprising thing was that Tuesday's trip around T.O. had Seguin recounting his own school days, too.
In the process, I uncovered yet another facet of Boston's budding superstar.
After a workout and skate at his school, St. Michael's College School, Seguin said that he had his eye on a Maize and Gold jersey way before he first donned his Black & Gold sweater at the 2010 draft.
"I came to Saint Mike's in the eighth grade and I came here because I went to Red Berenson's Michigan [hockey] camps growing up," said Seguin. "That’s the University of Michigan. That was kind of my dream growing up since my dad did go to college [to play hockey].
"And at the time, I knew a lot of guys went to the Saint Michael's Buzzers," added Seguin. "That was kind of my goal, so I wanted to go to this school and make this junior-A team.
"And I think by the ninth -- or probably early tenth grade -- I started growing a bit more and heading into my OHL draft year and last second kind of decided to go the old OHL route…and it’s kind of funny I ended up still in Plymouth, Michigan. So I did have the chance to go down to U of M and watch a couple games here and there," he said.
Saint Michael's is a hockey factory and even though Seguin played his hockey with the Plymouth Whalers, Seguin said his school experience was important.
"I mean, even though I didn’t end up playing for this team or going to college I still took a lot away from it," said Tyler as he surveyed the old rink. "This was a very, very professional school, professional atmosphere.
"You know you’d wear a tie and pretty much a blazer and dress pants to school every single day and yes it was all-boys school but in the end I think just knowing all the hockey guys that went here and learning from a lot of guys that came and visited and they’d give a little speeches here and there.
"And being a young kid I still took a lot away."
Seguin's still young, but he's no longer a kid. However, that doesn't stop his stomach from getting into a knot as he steps on school grounds every morning - he always feels as if he forgot his homework!
And when he was traveling to school there was no going back to Brampton.
"Yeah, it was pretty intense for two years," he said. "My mom would wake me up at about 6 a.m. to go to downtown Brampton which was about a twenty-minute drive at the time to catch a bus.
"I’d take that bus to Yorkdale Mall, which is about probably 40-45 minutes in the morning. From there I’d hop on a subway and take it to St. Claire street which was another about 20 minutes and then from there I’d walk about three of four blocks to get to my first class," he said.
"So I’d do my best to make my first class every day, but it was definitely a haul every day to make it."
But Seguin has made it - literally. Already NHL sniper, Tyler has a Stanley Cup ring and a terrific career ahead of him. Even so, a look at the plaques and pictures in the Buzzers' home rink leaves him humbled.
"It’s definitely an honor [to have gone to St. Michael's]," said Seguin. "Coming back, I run into my teachers all the time.
"I’ll get messages from them just to meet their kids outside of school here because they want to train here and I think that’s definitely something you definitely feel proud about when your old teachers…want [you] to meet their kids."
That said, some of the staff remember a young Seguin begging to borrow a tie for the day as he hurried onto campus.
"Yeah. I can’t believe they still remember that," said a smiling Seguin, who said he'd often lose neck wear on the way to school. "It was definitely a long day every day I came to school, but it was for my dream."