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The Globe and Mail

Seguin basks with Stanley Cup in Leafs’ backyard

They began lining up in the wee hours, starting at 6:30 a.m. Sunday morning in Chinguacousy Park.

By 10:30 a.m., a few thousand fans – many clad in Boston Bruins jerseys – were snaked up and around the park's hilltop, all in line for a chance to pose with Tyler Seguin and the Stanley Cup.

That was only the beginning of a marathon day for the 19-year-old rookie, as the NHL's youngest Cup winner in nearly 20 years took the trophy from Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, to the Brampton park, to his childhood arena, a pig roast in his honour and finally a downtown nightclub.

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There were, at various times, babies in the Cup – "he was born the day before they won," one father said – and oddball items for the local hero to have a look at.

Don Campbell, from Barrie, Ont., had Seguin sign a photocopy of his two young sons' birth certificates, where their middle names – one Boston, the other Bruin – caught the player's eye.

Then Patrick Watson, from London, Ont., pulled out a ticket stub from a game in Prague last fall where Seguin scored his first NHL goal.

"That was the weirdest thing," Seguin said. "It looked like it'd been through hell and back. That was pretty cool seeing that."

Sunday's celebration was the culmination of a whirlwind year for Seguin, who was drafted second overall 13 months earlier, made the Bruins as the second-youngest player to stick for the full NHL season and chipped in seven points in 13 games during Boston's Cup run.

Back standing in the rink where he played with the Toronto Nationals, next to that team's GM, Garry Punchard, and the Stanley Cup, Seguin said it was surreal to think he had been playing midget hockey at the small suburban arena three years earlier.

"I just saw my picture in there and I look like I'm 10 years old," he said. "It's actually only three years ago. Things have changed fast."

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That's expected to continue, too, with the Bruins losing a pair of veteran forwards and Seguin already told by management to expect far more than the 12 minutes a game he averaged last season.

Those who know him best say he's determined to make much more of an impact as a sophomore, having already beefed up to 195 pounds in training despite the limited time off.

His goal is to play a starring role in the Bruins' next Cup run, potentially as soon as next spring.

Sunday, however, was about what he has accomplished so far, a feat that left his father, Paul, at a loss for words.

"It's so amazing just to see Tyler up there," he said, watching his son pose for picture after picture in a park that both father and son grew up not far from. "I'm kind of living through him. I still don't even think it's my son. It's unbelievable."

Paul Seguin was then interrupted by an old friend – one of the few diehards wearing Toronto Maple Leafs colours on the day – who picked up on the conversation and had a few words of wisdom on "the trade" that will forever connect Tyler Seguin to his hometown team and Leafs winger Phil Kessel.

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"I'm not sorry the trade happened," Neil Crossley said. "We weren't expecting to get that low of a pick anyway. It just came out [that way] and burned us."

Moments later, the younger Seguin raised the Cup over his head, as the fans around him in the park all cheered.

"Bring it back again next year, Tyler," one shouted.

"No, let Toronto win one," another offered.

Seguin smiled wide.

If all those many mentions of the Leafs and Kessel bothered him on Sunday, he certainly didn't show it.

But judging from the fact his day with the Cup began at his condo in Maple Leaf Square, right next to the home of the Leafs, he doesn't mind a little blue and white in his life anyway.

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