BostonBruins.com -- The colors of the already-turning leaves and the changing weather in New England are sure signs that September is rapidly approaching and for many of us that means that our summer vacation plans are already fulfilled and we'll soon be returning to school or the office or regular working hours.
For hockey players, however, those regular working hours have already begun and preseason practices are hitting new levels of intensity. Last week, when we visited Tyler Seguin in Toronto, the forward was already skating (nearly) everyday and was mixing in a wide array of off-ice work from stretching, to plyometrics to pilates.
"Every day starts off with usually 30-to-45 minutes of stretching and a lot of just getting your muscles ready for the workout and then after that we go to in the gym or we go in the track," said Seguin, who has been staying in downtown Toronto and working out with a mixture of junior and professional players at St. Michael's College School.
The workouts were changing when we were there, as the emphasis switched from strength training and fitness to hockey-readiness.
"It wasn’t too much heavy lifting," said Seguin of last week's workouts. "It was a lot of explosive stuff since we’re at the end of August and then after that it’s usually it’s a new coach kind of coming out every day and going through drills and a lot of high tempo stuff.
"Within the next two weeks it will probably start being a bit more battle drills, almost like a training camp.
"You know, that’s why I enjoy coming here," added Seguin. "Because I feel like when I go to training camp I feel like I’ve already got a couple weeks of summer stuff under my belt."
That said, summer-stuff also includes a certain amount of down time, and as the offseason wanes Seguin is also spending plenty of time with friends and family from his nearby hometown of Brampton, Ontario.
"Brampton’s where my families from and…I like the fact that I can run home to where my mom lives it’s 20-30 minutes away and steal some of her dinners," said Seguin. "I do like living here [in Toronto] just so I can run away and go see my sisters and my mom and my dad and have time and have dinner with them as a family.
"But I get used to my own type of thing and more phone contact with family than actually seeing them, so I guess I’ve gotten used to this life this single big city life and wouldn’t change it."
Another thing that Seguin wouldn't change are the close friendships he's forged with friends from his hometown.
"When I first met Tyler we were obviously pretty young and we’d just go to the movies and all that and, you know, hangout," said Tyler's good friend Matt Azevedo. "Now it’s like everything’s changed kinda and…obviously he’s big and he’s a superstar now, but he’s always been the same guy and he’s always taking care of his friends and you couldn’t ask for a better buddy you know. He’s always kept close."
Seguin also said that the closeness he feels with the people from home, particularly his hockey-playing family, has kept him humble.
"My dad played at the University of Vermont, so actually not too far from Boston…and my mom also played, my two younger sisters Candace and Cassie who are 17 and 14 -- they both play probably as much if not more than me, so they have a lot of traveling and it’s kind of just been in the family," said Tyler. "I think I couldn’t have got here without them, especially my dad who has pushed me along the way and, obviously, my mom plays the 'mom role' a bit and always tells me I’m doing my best and always working my hardest.
"Definitely they were a big influence."