Alumni are key to any university sports program, but few alumni literally put roofs over student-athletes' heads.
That’s exactly what TCU Development Corporation does with the University of Ottawa men’s hockey program, as it offers Gee-Gees players the opportunity to pay market rate for convenient housing close to their home rink at the Minto Sports Complex.
“We give them the opportunity to live close to the rink, because we know how important that is,” said Billy Triantafilos, one of TCU’s Principals and Co-Founders. “We have some property nearby and we offered it to them, and some players have been living in our properties over the years.”
Founded and spearheaded by men’s hockey alumni Triantafilos and Mike Corneau, TCU Development Corporation specializes in strategic real estate development in the Ottawa area. A number of their developments are in the uOttawa student neighbourhood of Sandy Hill.
Most recently, TCU has made a three-year commitment as sponsors of the men’s hockey program. The TCU crest will be on the team’s home and road jerseys through the 2023-24 season.
“We are extremely grateful and proud to be supported by TCU,” said Gee-Gees head coach Patrick Grandmaitre. “Mike and Billy are young alumni who believe in our program and our players, and want to have a direct impact on our success. These alumni set an example of what our student-athletes can strive to achieve in their professional careers once they move on from hockey.”
“We had the luxury of receiving support from alumni [as players], and we want to be able to do the same,” said Corneau.
Corneau and Triantafilos met while playing for the Gee-Gees in 2002-03. Corneau was in his final of three seasons in Garnet and Grey, while Triantafilos was in his first of five years with the team.
The duo leveraged their entrepreneurial mentality to purchase a property while still student-athletes. They acted as live-in landlords, renting units to their hockey teammates while familiarizing themselves with market trends. Fast forward nearly two decades, and TCU (which was officially founded in 2010) now has 89 projects across the Nation’s Capital.
“When thinking about some of the most memorable parts of being in university, it’s the people that come to mind,” said Corneau. “If we can be people who student-athletes can look and see two real good friends from the University of Ottawa who created a business, and it does something for them in any facet, that’d mean the world to us.”
“Our body of work encompasses the community, and for us it’s important we give back in different situations,” said Triantafilos, who was recognized with the Telfer School of Management’s Young Achiever’s Award in 2017. “That could be time, that could be financially, that could be participation, and we believe we’re in a position in our lives where we can do that right now.”
Even while running a successful business, Corneau and Triantafilos make sure to follow the men’s hockey program closely. They regularly attend games, and keep up with the team through social media and webcasts.
Prior to TCU signing on as sponsors, Corneau and Triantafilos were instrumental figures in the Gee-Gees alumni network, helping as mentors, offering the players summer jobs and helping organize alumni games.
They haven’t pulled on the Garnet and Grey uniform in over a decade, but the connections made as players are long-lasting.
“We’re big proponents of bringing people together,” concluded Triantafilos. “We kept in touch with people who surrounded us, whether it be players, coaches, staff or alumni. It’s a testament to how valuable those relationships really are. We still play hockey with a lot of the guys every single week.”
Original Article: https://teams.geegees.ca/sports/mice/2021-22/releases/20211202gcwqhv