Tyler Seguin, His Eventful Return to Twitter And Why the Dallas Stars Should Embrace It
The young superstar returned to Twitter last week with a splash, but the fact that he continues to attract inordinate amounts of attention for relatively minor things is far from a bad thing for the Stars.
If there's anything Dallas Stars fans have learned about Tyler Seguin in his first year with the team, it's that he doesn't do anything halfway.
When it comes to hockey, he's a full-speed player 100 percent of the time, making even hockey novices sit up and take notice. When it comes to charity work, he jumped right in to the deep end in Dallas, finding a cause close to his heart and helping establish a foundation to benefit it.
And when it comes to social media, Seguin's return to the Twitter game was about as eventful a week for a Stars player as you're going to find in the dog days of July.
As you might expect, the thing that started this ball rolling was Seguin's return to Twitter after a year-long hiatus following the hacking incident that immediately followed his trade to the Stars last summer. The first thing he did was promote his charity golf tournament. The second was to retweet a number of welcome back messages and a video of his summer workouts, including this greeting from his buddy and captain:
@tseguinofficial ive missed you!— Jamie Benn (@jamiebenn14) July 15, 2014
Also, this lovely message from Andrew Ference made an appearance and made me laugh pretty hard:
@tseguinofficial Hey pal! Remember Settings-Passcode-Turn Off Simple Passcode-Enter A Tough One=Twitter Success— Andrew Ference (@Ferknuckle) July 18, 2014
But before the buzz had cooled on that bit of what passes for breaking hockey news in the middle of the summer, Seguin made even more headlines with a trick shot from said golf tournament.
You might have heard of that shot. It was everywhere on Friday, from TMZ to Perez Hilton to SportsCenter. As the TMZ link shows, and as our friends over at Eyes on the Prize have documented, this type of trick shot is relatively common (and in the hands of a trained professional, pretty darn safe).
So why does he gain such notoriety for this stunt then? Because he's Tyler freaking Seguin, a man who achieved a level of outside-of-hockey celebrity during his time with the Boston Bruins. No matter how innocuous a move he makes, whether that's buying a house in Dallas or raising money for a friend who was paralyzed in an accident, both the national hockey media and the greater celebrity gossip media are going to pay an inordinate amount of attention.
And I would put forth that there's nothing wrong with that for the the Stars. In fact, as they continue down the path of rebuilding and re-energizing the fanbase that took so many hits, having a player of marquee status off the ice is an asset. Yes, modern hockey might fully embrace the cliche of don't be bigger than the team, but there is a place for personality, especially when one has the skill to back it up.
One of the biggest reasons Mike Modano became such an omnipresent force that helped the Stars gain traction in the marketplace in the mid-1990s was because he had a presence both on and off the ice. For all the greatness Jamie Benn oozes on the ice, he's a very bland public presence. The same was true of Brenden Morrow before him.
Meanwhile, Steve Ott had a personality without the high-end skill (though he certainly had tenacity and his own unique set of irritainment abilities), and he became one of the more popular players among casual and new fans in recent memory.
There's nothing wrong with saying nothing but the proper cliches in an interview, with being nothing but mildly funny on social media. But there is also nothing wrong with embracing your own personality, even if it happens to be that of a wealthy senior in college with too much free time and money on his hands.
Going back to Modano, he sometimes stuck his foot deep in his mouth in interviews and would have likely done the same on Twitter had it been around. But his open personality and his willingness to share actual opinion and personality in public made him the player media outlets, both local and national, actually wanted to have on, and that in turn gave the Stars a greater presence on the local and national stage that they then built off with winning seasons.
As social media has come into its own over the past five or so years, there's been a noticeable shift in the tone of how a team and its players interact with its fans. Sarcasm, humor and personality gets anything, including a hockey team, a long way on the internet, something teams like the Los Angeles Kings, Columbus Blue Jackets and the Stars have really embraced.
With the shift definitely heading in that direction, Seguin's celebrity outside of hockey and his willingness to have an actual personality both on social media and in interviews is something the Stars should embrace as an asset to selling the team.
Sure, it might make for some nervous moments when you put a microphone or keyboard in front of a 22-year-old who, like every other 22-year-old in the world, has moments where he will probably say something regrettable. And there will be a fine balance between having a personality that attracts a lot of attention and being able to fit in with the group of 22 other players.
But on the whole, that's a risk the Stars should take, especially since they seem very confident in the strength of their locker room to rein in a variety of personalities. The fact that he is back on Twitter at all after the mutually agreed upon hiatus last season is a sign they recognize this fact.