Editor"s note: This story originally ran April 2016.
Tyler Seguin wasn"t due until 5:45 p.m., but the line for this meet-and-greet at the Rally House Alpha sports boutique formed much earlier.
Would you believe 1 p.m.? On a Monday? For a hockey player? In Dallas?
By evening"s end, 500-plus fans, roughly 60-percent of them female, got one-on-one face time with 24-year-old Star-attraction Seguin. Some came from out of state, including two young ladies from New Jersey.
"He"s good at hockey," explained Amy Simons, one of the Garden Staters.
"And he"s good-looking," chimed the other, AnnMarie Lapelosa. "Not gonna lie."
Days later, Seguin"s mother, Jackie, was told of the numerous blushing, tongue-tied teen girls who took selfies with Tyler and wobbled out of Rally House in shock.
"Just as long as he"s polite and kind to everybody," Jackie said. "Because Tyler"s just Tyler. He"s no superstar to me. He"s just my son."
Though she was 1,400 miles away in the Seguins" hometown of Brampton, Ontario, Jackie need not have worried about Tyler"s Rally House manners.
He made friendly small talk, shook every hand and looked each fan in the eyes. The event was supposed to end at 7, but at 6:49chants of "Tyler, Tyler!" rang through the store when, with Seguin"s blessing, extra fans were ushered in.
He treated the last person, at 7:13, the same as the first -- in the manner he says he was taught as a kid by his father, Paul.
"It"s so crazy because you don"t comprehend just what you mean to some people, being an athlete," Seguin said. "To some of these people, their lives are going to work every day, worrying about what makes them happy, including just the game of hockey.
"So I need to take some pride in that."
Granted, this was only a 90-minute glimpse of Seguin off-ice, but think long and hard: How often since his July 4, 2013 acquisition from Boston has he made cringe-inducing news?
How often have his nocturnal habits proved as concerning as Bruins officials inferred them to be, as rationale for trading their former No. 2 overall pick, the skilled, speeding dynamo who at 19 wowed all of hockey during Boston"s 2011 Stanley Cup title run?
"He was like any other 21-year-old," Stars general manager Jim Nill said. "He did some things he probably would like to take back, if you could, but you learn from it."
"Him and Jamie Benn have become the face of our franchise," Nill said. "Tyler"s probably one of the most misread guys around the league. He"s infectious with people. He loves to be around them. And we"re seeing him mature."
The Seguin family is a hockey family
In three regular seasons as a Star, Seguin"s 234 points are fourth-most in the NHL, behind Pittsburgh"s Sidney Crosby (273), Benn (255) and Chicago"s Patrick Kane (239).
The Stars" surge from 10th in the Western Conference last season to first this season has awakened American Airlines Center echoes from the franchise"s late-1990s and early-2000s glory seasons.
But as Dallas opened the playoffs against Minnesota last week, both sexes of Seguin fans anxiously awaited news of his playing status.
After missing the regular season"s final 10 games due to a 15-percent cut of his right Achilles tendon suffered on March 17, Seguin missed Game 1 against the Wild but returned in Game 2 and played 15 minutes.
Not surprisingly, his return wasn"t seamless. He looked rusty. The Stars" 2-0 series lead indicates they can finish off Minnesota without Seguin at 100-percent, but they"ll probably need some Seguinesque performances to make a sustained playoff run.
He was the NHL"s third-leading scorer, with 73 points, when Tampa Bay defenseman Anton Stralman"s skate sliced the tendon.
What happened in the next 15 hours could prove defining in how fans and media regard Seguin"s franchise-player potential -- whether they see substance within the style; grit behind the good looks.
First, after getting sliced he skated out the final 22 seconds of the pivotal 4-3 win. The next afternoon, he tweeted a grisly close-up photo of the injury, adding, "I really hate when I get paper cuts." (If you"re brave enough to look, the picture is right here).
On the night of the injury, Jackie Seguin was attending a play. She typically watches Stars games on TV, and has attended several road and home games this season.
"As soon as I came out, I saw that somebody had texted, "Oh my God. I hope Tyler is OK,"" she said. "I started sending messages to his manager. Then I came home and saw the injury."
The Seguins understand the realities of the sport. Paul played defenseman for four years at the University of Vermont. Jackie played organized hockey well into her teens, and later in the Brampton Canadettes women"s league.
Both of Tyler"s siblings, 21-year-old Candace and 17-year-old Cassidy, also play. Candace came up through the junior ranks and played a season at Vermont. Cassidy finished her junior career with the Vaught Flames a few weeks ago.
"It"s a Canadian thing, right?" Jackie, 55, said with a laugh. She gave up playing competitively a few years ago, but last month played in a mother-daughter game with Cassidy.
"I was sore for three days," she said.
Like Tyler, the Seguin women all play center. Paul stands 5-11, Jackie 5-3, Candace 5-7 and Cassidy 5-4. Tyler, fortunately, had a 10-grade growth spurt and is 6-1.
While many elite athletes carry 6-to-13-percent body fat, Tyler"s is 3.6-percent, but that hardly makes him invincible, as the Achilles injury showed. That"s why Jackie wishes he took more precautions, such as wearing Kevlar socks that might have lessened the cut"s severity.
"That"s just a mom"s opinion, though," Jackie said.
After Tyler"s injury, Jackie"s instinct was to fly to Dallas. Since he couldn"t drive, how would he get from place-to-place? How would he cook for himself?
For that matter, how would he move about in the four-bedroom, six-bath, 7,250-square foot mansion he bought in 2014 from Hockey Hall of Famer and Stars great Mike Modano in 2014.
Jackie said Tyler assured her he could get friends to drive him. He also hired a chef.
"He always seems to have people," Jackie said, adding with a sigh: "He tries to become so independent that he doesn"t need his mom around."
Seguin is good for Dallas, and Dallas is good for Seguin
Seguin was just 18 years, eight months old when he made his NHL debut. He scored 22 points that season and got to hoist the Stanley Cup, becoming one of the youngest players in history to do so.
He scored 67 points the following year, then 32 in the 48-game, lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, when Boston returned to the finals and lost to Chicago.
Ten day after that series, Seguin was sent to Dallas in a blockbuster seven-player trade. The following morning"s Boston Herald headline blared: "B"s trade problem child; Send Seguin to Dallas for Eriksson."
The story cited "well-placed sources" who expressed concern about Seguin"s lifestyle choices, fearing he was "headed for trouble with his nightlife pursuits."
Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli, who previously expressed concern about Seguin"s "professionalism" and "focus," didn"t exactly douse the trade-day story when he spoke of being overwhelmed by social media photos of Seguin at clubs.
"Maybe some of it is true, but I know not all of it is true," Chiarelli said, adding that Seguin was "a good kid, with a good heart and he is going to continue to grow up."
Two weeks before he acquired Seguin, Stars GM Nill hired Lindy Ruff as coach. Ruff said he considers Seguin to be a good teammate and a coachable player who has worked at becoming a more consistent and trusted player away from the puck.
"I think he"s learning to deal better with the off-ice," Ruff said. "I don"t track the off-ice that much, but I know he"s a pretty busy social person, which that"s his character. But I think he"s trying to put his priorities in place. Hockey is first and the off-ice has come second."
Sure, some eyebrows were raised in January when video and photos were tweeted with Seguin, Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons and Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard with Johnny Manziel at a concert in Deep Ellum, but none reported any over-the-top behavior.
Mostly, Seguin fans devour morsels through social media and Seguin"s weekly show with The Ticket"s BaD radio, about such topics as his Chocolate Lab Marshall and Black Lab Cash; his friendship with The Bachelor"s JoJo Fletcher; and his renting a suite for last Sunday"s Justin Bieber concert.
"He"s a fun-loving guy, got a great personality," Nill said. "I think that fit into this city. I think people appreciate that.
"On the flipside, I think Dallas has been good for him. It"s not a city where you"re in the spotlight all the time. You can get away at times and take a deep breath. And he needs that."
Stars defenseman Jason Demers, who along with Jamie Benn are Seguin"s closest friends on the team, said he"s noticed that North Texans tend to be respectful of Seguin in public.
On the road, Demers said, Seguin is much more likely to be pestered at restaurants. And at visiting arenas, Stars players are accustomed to hearing shrieks and seeing handmade Seguin signs.
Most memorably, there was this season"s November game in Boston and the yellow "My Only Wish For My Sweet 16 Is To See Tyler Seguin" sign. The girl twice melted into tears, when Seguin flipped a puck to her before the game, and when he signed the puck and hugged her after the game.
"I"m sure his head is a little bigger than he leads on, but he does a good job with all of that," Demers said. "It"s tough for any young kid to be that popular and to handle it that way.
"I"m sure there is a learning curve to it. I wouldn"t know myself."
He respects Boston, but Dallas is his new home
Seguin said he respects the hockey tradition in Boston and its knowledgeable fans, who, he points out, "are born into hockey," much like fans in Canada.
"Dallas might have more families that have chosen it, rather than having it run through their family," Seguin said. "From Day One of coming to Dallas to now, there"s always been hockey fan-support. But the way it"s grown and changed has been pretty amazing and eye-opening."
The Stars rank behind the Cowboys, Rangers and Mavericks in popularity, but when in public with Tony Romo, Dirk Nowitzki, Parsons and other local athletes, Seguin has noticed how fans are, generally.
"They know who you are, but they kind of leave you alone and respect you," he said. "I"m not saying other places don"t respect you, but some people in other places are either out to take pictures with you or almost get you."
Count Jackie Seguin among those who believe Dallas has been a great fit for her son, and vice-versa.
Though she appreciated Boston"s history, cobblestone streets and hockey passion, she doesn"t miss going to malls there with Candace and Cassidy and emerging from restrooms to fans pointing phone cameras at them.
"Dallas is clean It"s new. It"s refreshing," she added. "I drive in Dallas. I know my way around Dallas. That"s what I like."
Before Tyler"s second season in Dallas, Jackie helped him house hunt. Though buying Modano"s former mansion for $1.9 might seem extravagant for a bachelor, Tyler and Jackie say there was practicality behind the choice.
"I went to see Mo"s place first, just to kind of see it because it was on the market," Tyler said.
They saw 50-to-60 more houses, but Seguin couldn"t take his mind off of Modano"s.
"It"s obviously cool that it was Mo"s house, but it"s just the general setup," Seguin said. "I guess you could say some hockey minds think alike. He had the media setup I like, the weight room setup, the backyard, the inside concept.
"It"s a big square-footage house, but it"s still cozy. I couldn"t beat it."
Jackie calls it "a masculine hockey house," but adds, "I knew Tyler would be on his own for quite a while, but if you want to add feminine touches to it, you can."
Seguin doesn"t seem to be in any hurry to do that, nor does Jackie want him to be. She did joke to him that now that Dallas" JoJo Fletcher has been cast as next season"s Bachelorette, perhaps he should be on the show.
Jackie has met Fletcher through Tyler and calls her a "cool girl." But mostly, Jackie enjoyed being able to text Tyler back and forth while watching last season"s Bachelor.
"I was trying to get the inside on it, because he would know more than I would know," Jackie said. "I was trying to find out the stuff ahead of time. He would tell me a little bit, then make me wait."
Seguin spends much of his offseasons in Brampton, Ontario"s big-brother neighbor, Toronto. But Jackie was grateful to learn that Tyler has an older-adult sounding board in Dallas.
It"s 58-year-old Nill, who says Seguin often drops by his office. Nill describes their relationship as almost father-son.
"If I see something where he"s on the wrong side of the road and it"s time to get on the right side, we talk about it and he"s open to it," Nill said.
"We have a pretty open, honest relationship," Seguin said. "I"ve only had two GMs in my career, so it"s hard to compare. Even though my last GM traded me, I never had one problem with him. He was always nice to me, as well.
"I think Jim just takes it to another level. You ask anybody about Jim Nill, they"ll tell you about his respect for people, his general demeanor. And he"ll also give it to me straight. If I"m playing like (expletive), he"ll tell me I"m playing like (expletive).
"That"s a good, open relationship."
Meeting him was worth the wait
Seguin"s love-struck sign-holding fans are his most noticeable at games, but not every female is drawn to him due to of his looks.
The first three people to arrive for his meet-and-greet at Rally House were Yvette Gardner, 40, 14-year-old daughter Madison and 9-year-old son Steven.
They drove 45 minutes from Saginaw.
"I"ve watched the game for many, many years," Yvette said. "The way he can handle the puck and maneuver it, you think somebody"s going to take it from him and, "whoop," he toe-drags it and is gone."
The day after the meet-and-greet, Yvette was schedule for surgery at the Cancer Treatment Center of America in Tulsa, Okla.
"This is like one last hurrah with the kids before I go," Yvette said.
And, no, they didn"t seem to mind sitting on the floor for five hours, at the head of a line that snaked around the store.
"I"ve had all this time with my kids, just talking and chit-chatting," Yvette said. "So that"s just priceless."
And when Seguin arrived at 5:45, he greeted Yvette and the kids as if they were old friends. Those few minutes? Again, priceless.
"That"s pretty surreal," Seguin said later. "It puts things in perspective of how important a sport can be to people. It"s what they"re watching on TV, as a family.
"That"s why you want to give them the most respect you can for the short amount of time you have with them."