Athletics

All-Star Alumni

All-Star Alumni

The list of Old Boys who have gone on to successful careers in their fields is impressively long and constantly growing. There are currently 10,000 Old Boys in 75 countries around the world. Many often reunite with old friends at branch events in Canada and abroad. Others return to UCC for speaking engagements to share their experiences with the next generation. Our alumni ranks boast 10 Olympians and hockey pros including George Mara ’41, captain of the 1948 Olympic gold medal-winning Canadian hockey team and director of Maple Leaf Gardens. It’s for him that our Mara Rink in the William Wilder ’41 Arena & Sports Complex is named. Here are just some of our alumni who've excelled in athletics. 

Find out more about our alumni who've excelled in athletics and beyond by looking at our alumni magazine, Old Times, or our Old Boy website:

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  • Colin Greening ’05

    Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment chairman Larry Tanenbaum, who donated $1 million to UCC's character program and is the father of UCC governor Ken Tanenbaum and grandfather of three UCC students, stands with Colin Greening '05 and the Calder Cup, which they won for capturing the American Hockey League championship in June 2018.  

List of 18 items.

  • Turner Southey-Gordon ’11

    Turner Southey-Gordon ’11 has a dream job many would envy. A recent graduate of Duke University, Southey-Gordon just launched a career as a professional golfer and moved to West Palm Beach, Fla. this past fall to enter tournaments and practise year-round.

    Southey-Gordon came to Upper Canada College in Grade 3. He was a gifted student and natural athlete, excelling at several sports, but particularly golf. He joined the UCC golf team in Grade 8. While there were no official practices at the College, the team took part in regular competitions.

    “Every Wednesday in the spring, for six weeks or so, we would go to a golf tournament,” he recalls. “Jim LaPlante, head of IT, would drive us.”

    Southey-Gordon practised at a golf club in Etobicoke, Ont. after classes. He was inspired by the example of his grandfather, an avid golfer, and Mike Weir, who “set the stage for Canadian golf” when he won the Masters Golf Tournament in 2003.

    Getting caught up on schoolwork missed because of golf tournaments taught Southey-Gordon the benefits of time management and organization, skills that came in handy at university. He headed off to Duke in Durham, N.C. on an athletic scholarship in 2011.
    At Duke, Turner played 40 hours of golf per week on top of attending classes and having a social life. He was twice named Academic All-American and graduated on the dean’s list.

    The Duke men’s golf team won the Atlantic Coast Conference championship in 2013. Two years later, with Southey-Gordon as captain, the team made it to the National Collegiate Athletic Association championship tournament but didn’t win. He graduated from Duke with a degree in cultural anthropology and marketing this past May and became a professional golfer shortly thereafter.

    Of his game, Southey-Gordon is modest, though he describes himself as “a really good putter.” The secret of his success boils down to attitude, he says. “I just have a really good time golfing. You put so many hours into it, you still have to enjoy playing and practising.”
    He also credits his family for being loyal and encouraging. “They’ve always let me make the decisions I want. They’ve been very supportive,” he says.

    Southey-Gordon’s father, Robert Gordon ’79, played tennis professionally after leaving school. Now an orthopedic surgeon in Toronto, Gordon says he wasn’t surprised when his son blossomed at golf, “because he’s very talented in numerous sports. UCC is great at nurturing people like that. They combine academics and sports really well.”

    Interestingly enough, Southey-Gordon had company at UCC. He was classmates with Brandon Ng, another golf prodigy who recently graduated from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. “We’re still really good friends. We keep in touch. I see him pretty often,” says Southey-Gordon.

    “I love Turner,” says Ng, who has also become a golfer. “We’ve been close friends since Grade 7 and spent a lot of time together. Golf is an individual sport but Turner has always been a friend whenever we compete against each other.”

    Southey-Gordon is raising money through his website to cover the pricey entry fees required for pro golf tournaments. Like Weir, Southey-Gordon hopes to someday make it to the Masters. “That’s the lifelong dream of any professional golfer, to play in that tournament,” he says. “I really want to try this pro life out for a few years and see where that takes me.”
    Read Bio
  • Drew Taylor ’01

    When he’s not throwing a baseball or making a movie, count on Drew Taylor to be focusing on a career in the world of medicine.

    But Hollywood remains in the dreams of the Upper Canada College grad who, when he wasn’t focused on academics, played baseball pitching for the Blues and was a team MVP. He was selected a high school all-star by the Toronto Star, attracted major university attention and later played pro with the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies organizations.
     
    “It has been very interesting and it‘s true that I’d like to make a Hollywood movie one day since I have had already had some success [as a director],” says Taylor, referring to winning five Canadian screen awards and was thrilled to have produced a documentary about the chronicles of his father’s path from World Series pitcher to Blue Jays doctor.

    “The movie about my father was something really special to me and I’ll also never forget the one about Ken Taylor, Canada’s former ambassador to Iran, which was shown at the Toronto International Film Festival. Every kid dreams about playing pro baseball and it was something I achieved. Now, I am fortunate to work in the medical field.”

    Taylor knows that having a multitude of different experiences, and doing so well in each, is rare.

    “While at UCC, I was able to participate in sports, the arts and academics,” says Taylor. “They all had an impact on my life and influenced me a great deal. You get immersed in a culture at UCC that you can be excellent at more than one thing.”

    He has a bachelor of science in biology from the University of Michigan and a master of science in molecular, cellular and developmental biology from Michigan’s Rackham Graduate School. Working towards a career in orthopedic surgery, he’s also pursuing a doctorate in biomedical engineering at the University of Toronto.

    Taylor made his National Collegiate Athletic Association baseball start at Georgia Tech, attended the College World Series and transferred to the University of Michigan, where he won an award as Michigan’s most valuable pitcher in his first season.
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  • Allen Champagne ’11

    When Allen Champagne is determined to do something and do it well, he’ll explain that nothing gets in his way.

    Born in a suburb of Montreal, the bright and articulate individual is focused on a career in medicine – either orthopedics or neurology.

    After an outstanding high school education at Upper Canada College, then a recipient of the prestigious Morehead-Cain Scholarship at the University of North Carolina, Champagne is close to finishing his master’s degree in neurosciences at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.

    “I’m grateful to UCC,” recalls Champagne. “It was the place that gave me the tools to study, to learn English and develop my passion. UCC gave me the opportunities where I worked hard towards something special.”

    A multi-sport athlete at UCC, Champagne was an elite football player and all-star on a league championship team. His football success continued at Chapel Hill, N.C. playing for the Tar Heels in the National Collegiate Athletic Association. A walk-on player, it didn’t take him long to reach U.S. national television after his memorable tackle, on punt coverage in the season-opener, made it to ESPN.

    “That play was something special for me – and people still talk about it,” says Champagne. “But it’s more than football. I’ve always wanted to learn from the best and it all started at UCC.”

    Champagne is studying concussion research, about the brain and its impact on behavior and cognitive functions. He’s hoping to emerge as a key figure in helping athletes in the world of professional sport.

    “I want to understand and relate to a certain kind of injury – and use my knowledge and experience to work with athletes at the pro level,” says Champagne. “I have really come from nowhere to become someone really focused on helping others – and I owe a great deal to some special people at UCC.”

    As for continuing football, that’s still on his agenda. Champagne has been invited to a Canadian Football League combine – an opportunity for pro teams to scout players.
    Read Bio
  • Brandon Ng ’11

    Brandon Ng is adamant about his future – just ask him.

    “I want to be a Canadian on the PGA Tour and play for Canada at the Olympics,” says Ng, 

    Brandon Ng is adamant about his future – just ask him.

    “I want to be a Canadian on the PGA Tour and play for Canada at the Olympics,” says Ng, optimistic and determined to reach his career goals after graduating with honours from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.

    “I have worked so hard, so long and spent so much time, there’s no turning back now.”
    Ng was eight years old when, with his father, they started hitting golf balls at a range in Toronto.

    “There was something special about golf back then, and even more so now,” says Ng, who was a former Ontario high school golf champ in 2009 and 2010 while attending Upper Canada College. “Golf demands perfection, it’s physically challenging and there is a strong mental component.”

    In 2009, he won both the Canadian and Ontario Juvenile titles.

    Ng progressed in the sport as a teen and even before graduation day at UCC, his name was on the list of more than 20 National Collegiate Athletic Association schools offering various forms of scholarships.

    Michigan and Duke were attractive, but he chose Wake Forest, a private independent school – one of the top golf programs in the United States and winner of three national titles with 19 Conference championships.

    “I turned pro so golf is now seven days a week – training, practising and competing,” says Ng, who also enjoyed playing hockey and was a former captain of the UCC under-14 squad that won the Conference of Independent Schools Athletic Association title.
    While in Grades 11 and 12, Ng was selected to Canada’s Junior Development team and has also been a member of the Golf Association of Ontario’s provincial squad. He finished seventh at the 2010 Junior World Championship and that same year qualified for both the U.S. Amateur and the US Junior Amateur.

    “Some of my most memorable times were the days at UCC,” he says, “the House meetings, getting together with a group of guys, making friends for life and benefitting from a great education.”
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  • Barney Williams ’96

    Looking back as a youngster, Barney Williams’96 dreamed of playing in the National Football League.

    But when he didn’t get the quarterback spot on the Upper Canada College team, little did he know at the time that a switch to rowing was the foundation for a great future as an athlete, instructor and coach.

    A World champ, Olympic silver medalist in the Men’s Coxless Four category and member of the Canadian National team, Williams is now Talent Identification and Development Coach for the Canadian Sport Institute and working on Vancouver Island.

    “I learned at UCC, that given the opportunity to compete in various sports, I could pursue passions,” recalled Williams, a graduate of the University of Victoria followed by a term in England where he earned his Masters Degree at the University of Oxford.

    “There were individuals at UCC, teachers and coaches, who had a huge educational impact on me and helped me understand to never close doors and look for opportunities — and it also rubbed off in sport.”

    Married to a Canadian Olympic rower and stressing his family of four was the most important part of his life, Williams biggest milestone on water was a gold medal at the 2003 World championship in Italy followed by a personal best performance finishing second at the 2004 Olympics in Greece.

    He also a pair of wins from Rowing World Cup events.

    “For me, competing in sport has been a huge accomplishment and a rewarding experience,” says Williams, whose next goal is to be a rowing coach for Canada’s Olympic team.
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  • Will Sidgwick ’09

    After graduating from Upper Canada College, Will Sidgwick tinkered with the possibility of a career in engineering and there was interest in testing the market as a professional athlete.

    Both are still in his future plans, but Sidgwick — while in his fourth year of studies at Queen’s University in Kingston— saw an opportunity join his father’s successful Toronto-based business as a Consultant for Financial Systems.

    “The job is really about customizing financial systems to meet the needs of a major business,” says Sidgwick, who had observed his fathers business as a youngster and the interest grew. “It’s different, challenging, very rewarding and it was an opportunity I just had to take.”

    Sidgwick knows all about taking challenging steps — and his record shows good things. As a 13-year old, he was cut from a school sports team, but didn’t hesitate to try something new: volleyball.

    “It was different, but I remember really wanting to participate in something,” says Sidgwick. “I think I was around 13 years of age, just got to like volleyball more and more. Joined a club and played year round. Things turned out alright.”

    A 6-foot-3 left-side hitter, Sidgwick was chosen team MVP for UCC, was on three Conference of Independent Schools Athletic Association league championship teams and culminated his high school days with a provincial gold medal for the Blues.

    Shuffling off to Queen’s, he was chosen to the Ontario University Athletics rookie all-star volleyball team and has a pair of gold medals from two league titles.

    Still with the sport, but the beach volleyball version, Sidgwick was on four Canadian World Junior squads and the most significant event of his life so far was being part of a Canuck team that placed fifth in 2013.

    “It was fabulous — playing for your country and doing so well,” he says. “As much as that was special to me, I’ll always have wonderful memories of UCC. Lots of great people, everyone was very supportive and it was a fabulous place to go to school.”
    Read Bio
  • Brian Conacher ’61

    It’s not often you get to learn from an Olympic athlete, who also played in a National Hockey League all-star game and was a member of the last Toronto Maple Leafs team to win a Stanley Cup.

    Meet Brian Conacher.

    And yet something other than sports is of greater importance to the Upper Canada College grad, who competed for Canada at the 1964 Olympics in Austria.

    “To me, it was always about education first – that was paramount,” says Conacher in a fascinating chat. He’s now retired after an illustrious career that included playing Canada’s national winter sport, hockey management, coaching, arena management and broadcasting.
    A former president of the NHL Alumni Association, Conacher identifies life achievements, including five years as a player with three teams – but always returns to academics and the opportunity he received to attend UCC.

    “I didn’t start out with the objective of being a professional hockey player,” says Conacher. “At UCC, you are at a school with a responsibility to make the most of your time. I was a good hockey player in my teens, but also a good student. I never sacrificed one for the other.”

    It was the 1967-68 season that Conacher remembers so well: the Stanley Cup team he was on and the game, different back then, that featured the winning team playing a league all-star squad. Conacher scored the winner in a semifinal against Chicago and notched the winner in the fifth game of a championship series with Montreal.

    “Those goals meant a great deal to me, but also very important was the pursuit of excellence in education and sport,” says Conacher, who is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario. “In my time in the NHL, I was one of a small number of players that also went to university.”

    After his playing days ended, Conacher worked at the Northlands Coliseum in Edmonton, Copps Coliseum in Hamilton and Maple Leaf Gardens.

    “I enjoyed other forms of hockey as much as playing,” he says. “What was very rewarding were the 13 years as a hockey coach at UCC, knowing that I was in an environment developing College-bound students, helping young kids develop in the game and reminding them of the importance of a great education.”
    Read Bio
  • Eric Vehovec ’08

    There are moments when Eric Vehovec, now working in banking at the Royal Bank of Canada, recalls his days playing competitive tennis.

    Tennis wasn’t just a social game with friends for the Upper Canada College graduate; he reached his goal of getting a ranking on the ATP World Tour in 2013.

    “It was a huge milestone for me to achieve a world ranking and, with that, officially be a professional tennis player,” says Vehovec. “Further, I had the opportunity to compete in tournaments all over the world.” His travels included stops in Africa, Central America, Europe and the Middle East.

    Learning the sport at age seven at a tennis camp, Vehovec was on several Conference of Independent Schools Athletic Association championship teams at UCC. After graduation, he attended Middlebury College, a highly regarded liberal arts college in Vermont, where he earned his degree in international politics and economics.

    Middlebury’s academics were intense, and the tennis was as well. As a sophomore in 2010, Vehovec was on the team that won the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III championship title.

    After graduation, he wasn’t quite ready to hang up the racquets. “The tour was an incredibly tough yet rewarding experience. The talent is enormous, with many players just scraping to get by,” says Vehovec, who placed in Canada’s top 20 in 2013 and played in the Rogers Cup in 2014.

    Now working to establish a career in international business, his interest in the area was driven by exposure to environments that encouraged global perspective: UCC, college and tennis.

    “UCC played a big role in my development – progressing through its rigorous program provided me with a strong foundation,” says Vehovec. “UCC gave me the confidence to go after future endeavours.”
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  • Seamus Power ’12

    There aren’t many like Seamus Power who can say that his resounding success, while at Upper Canada College, came from the support of two families – his own and the one made up of numerous friends, coaches and teachers.

    “I look back at my time at UCC and the relationships formed with so many people was really something special to me,” says Power. “I remember, as a 10-year-old kid, we moved to Canada from the United States and I didn’t like it – but it wasn’t my choice.

    “But Canada turned out to be something very special to me —  and that was UCC. I made some wonderful friends, met great teachers  and  coaches and was able to  excel  in athletics.”

    With his brothers  Patrick, Liam and  Aidan  also benefitting as students at UCC, and his father Jim, UCC’s principal for more than a decade, Seamus also had his immediate family bond.

    Academically sound, Power was also a talented  athlete.

    Chosen UCC’s athlete of the year at the junior and senior levels, he played on four varsity teams.

    “I was always most passionate about football and learned so much from coaches and some phenomenal athletes at UCC,” says Power. “I also loved being able play with my brothers.” Power is now pursuing a psychology degree at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.

    “The highlight of my athletic career at UCC was the come-from-behind football win over St. Andrew’s — 40-34,” says Power, who was the Blues quarterback in that November 10, 2010 spectacle that many observers believe may have been one of the finest high school football games of the decade.

    “It was back-and-forth and, late in the game, we pulled it off,” he says. “I remember throwing a pass to my brother. I just told him where to be and I’d get the ball to him. He caught it and then we went  on  to score the winning touchdown. It was something I will never forget.”

    His football days went from UCC to Bowdoin, but after his  freshman year, Power suffered a shoulder injury that  forced him to switch positions. His new job was to catch the ball as a wide receiver – something he has done for the past three seasons.

    Seamus received an invite to participate in the 2016 Canadian Football League combine earlier this year, and put up some impressive numbers in front of pro scouts.

    “Every kid dreams of playing a professional sport – and I am no different,” he says. “If it works out, great. If not, other things will come.”

    If he  doesn’t  get a call from any CFL teams this spring, Seamus will attend graduate school at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.
    Read Bio
  • Marc-Andre Alexander ’13

    Marc-Andre Alexandre knows something about pressure – both on and off the sports field.
    A dominant athlete, his academic status is also top-notch. He’s currently pursuing his bachelor’s degree in the history of science and medicine, and pre-med at Yale University in New Haven, Conn.

    Talk with Alexandre and his enthusiasm and vibrancy to excel at everything in his path is evident.

    “I like the challenges and want to do well,” said Alexandre. “I see it as an experience and opportunities to [excel].”

    An inspiring and innovative individual, given the choice between playing football or track, he chose to test his skills and speed at one of the oldest sporting competitions – sprinting.
    When Alexandre made the trip west from his home in Montreal, it was to benefit from UCC’s sound reputation in education. Outside of the classroom, he wanted to try his fortune on the gridiron.

    But an interesting thing happened: he put aside the pigskin and focused on running.
    While he did exhibit speed, and lots of it, Alexandre didn’t have any experience in the sprints. Coaches noticed.

    Alexandre, always looking for ways to learn, then took some advice and, as the story goes, his simple expectations had others watching him exploit his talent. In a short span of time, Alexandre excelled in the sprints at the independent high school finals as well as the Ontario championships.

    There were regular trips to the winner’s podium, amazing performances, medals piled up, personal bests and people were talking about his success across the country. Specialization and elite standards became important and Alexandre chose to devote his energy and determination to the 400-metre event.

    Chosen to Canada’s national junior team in 2012, where he competed in Spain at the world championships, now Alexandre is opening eyes at Yale and throughout the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Ivy League.

    “People were great to me at UCC – and the brotherhood developed while at boarding school was something that will last with me forever,” he said. “I came to UCC for a reason and when I left, I left with so much more.”

    While Alexandre would like to be on Canada’s squad at the 2020 Olympics, it’s not all about sports. He also cares about human rights, heath, young people and humanitarian relief.

    “I plan to take a year off after Yale and do some community service in Haiti – try to make the world a better place,” said Alexandre, whose career path is now aimed at international relations and wanting to work in diplomatic relations for Canada. “I’ve been (to Haiti), saw the disparity and people struggling. I want to do something to help.”
    Read Bio
  • Brad Rose ’07

    Watch carefully and you can see it: it’s quite common for champions in sport to have some form of a swagger in their step.

    Not for Brad Rose. For him, there was more of a show of respect and confidence every time he took a step to the soccer field. Articulate, gifted in the classroom and also playing sports at Upper Canada College, Rose was always focused on being the best. It was, and still is, his modus operandi.

    His particular approach to things, while focused and determined, hasn’t changed much from those early days of Grade 7 classes. He’s now a successful corporate strategy manager in Mississauga.

    “UCC was a great stepping stone to helping me achieve my dreams,” says Rose. “I know that no matter what you do, there will always be challenges and struggles – and UCC taught me to deal with things in a special way that would be a huge help in dealing with issues and life.”

    Rose, like all youngsters, had dreams of playing professional sport. For him, it was soccer – one of several sports he played back in his teen days wearing the blue and white of UCC.

    A striker on the Blues squad, Rose was top scorer in the league as a junior. He did it again as a senior. In four seasons with the Blues, Rose scored 90 goals.

    Tack on the prestigious award as UCC’s most valuable player in that sport. Rose can also carry a good discussion on those days when he was a member of three championship teams in the Conference of Independent Schools Athletic Association and a pair of national titles.

    And another wonderful achievement at UCC, was when Rose was named MVP at the 2006 Canadian Accredited Independent Schools soccer playoffs.

    Academic grades were always something special to Rose. He needed top marks to get accepted to Yale University –   where he’d graduate with a degree in economics.

    But it wasn’t all studies at the Ivy League school, as Rose played four seasons with the Bulldogs, again was a top scorer and chosen a league all-star among several other awards.

    “Sports at UCC were great and I remember those days as being very special to me, developing special friendships and helping me develop as an athlete,” he recalls. “There were times at Yale when I struggled because of several injuries, but I remembered the talks at UCC with coaches and teachers about perseverance and dedication.”

    Rose did get an opportunity to taste the professional level – but it would only be for three months, after graduation from Yale, with the Colorado Rapids who compete in major league soccer.
    Read Bio
  • Matt Cumming ’95

    Matthew Cumming knows all about pressure, stress, tension and has an exemplary work ethic.

    Now, a lawyer specializing in a corporate and securities practice with expertise in real estate, mergers and capital markets, just to name a few, Cumming had to learn about teamwork.

    Even before he worked as a clerk at the Supreme Court of Canada, or started teaching law, Cumming was devoting substantial hours enhancing his education at Yale University, the University of Toronto and the University of Cambridge.

    A rising star and recipient of many accolades, including academic awards, Cumming – bright, intellectual and a master in his career – is well aware that his good fortune and prosperity just may have had it roots dating back to when he was a boy at Upper Canada College.

    “Great years, remember them well,” says Cumming, who also finds time to teach and is the co-author of a shareholders remedies text. “At UCC, I had a great group of peers and the school taught me how to focus on a goal – and meet it.”

    On the subject of goals, Cumming’s remembers when his father bought him a pair of skates at age 3.

    “I loved hockey, worked hard at skating and learning to play and aspired to play at the College level,” he says.

    Cumming, modest about his solid performance on the ice, played in four leagues finishing his competitive years in 1999 after a season with Weiden EV, a Division One team in Germany.  His numbers were good: 25 goals and 29 assists in 54 games and, well, even a career-high 157 minutes in penalties.

    Having spent four seasons of hockey with the Yale Bulldogs in the very competitive Division One of the Eastern College Athletic Conference of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Cumming also suited up for the St. Michael’s Buzzers in the Metro Junior A Hockey League.

    Yet, playing left wing, Cumming has some special memories about his days with the UCC Blues.

    “The camaraderie at UCC stands out; it was just a wonderful time with the guys on the hockey team,” says Cumming, “the relationships created and developed between younger and older players, the mentors and some great coaches. I learned a great deal at UCC.”
    And how about that memorable moment?

    “I was in Grade 10 and being on a team that won the Ontario high school championship,” says Cumming. “It was back in 1992 and the game went to double overtime. That was something I’ll never forget.”

    For the record, UCC would go on to dominate the provincial scene winning five gold medals in a 10-year span.
    Read Bio
  • Coulter Wright ’90

    One thing really stands out about Coulter Wright: he’s the kind of individual who always aims for the top.

    Wright is a success story in many ways. Now working in the investment industry in corporate development, wisely buying companies and integrating them, Wright is the right guy for the job.

    After benefitting from his studies in the Netherlands and his master’s in finance at the Rotterdam School of Management, he went on to become a vice-president and portfolio manager at AGF Management Limited – a Canadian-based investment management firm.
    Also a graduate of the University of New Mexico, Wright thinks highly about his early years in education and talks about his great start at Upper Canada College.

    “UCC was an amazing experience – just the perfect mix for me,” says Wright. “I was the competitive kind of person and the school pushed me intellectually, which turned out to be a huge bonus.”

    It wasn’t just all studies for Wright, during Grade 9 through 13 at UCC.

    His success in the academic classroom also showed on the tennis court. Wright dominated in many high school matches. He was also a member of the Blues squad that won the Conference of Independent Schools Athletic Association tennis team championship.

    “Playing tennis at UCC was a lot of fun and I remember learning a great deal,” says Wright, who was also quite active in the sport at the community level.

    “My years  at UCC were some of the best days of my life,” he says. “They helped prepare me in every way for my life ahead. I loved the sports, academics and friendships that came from my days there.  I wish I could go back and do it again.”

    His confidence with a tennis racquet led to a favorable outcome that went beyond his teen years, as Wright was the recipient of an athletic scholarship to New Mexico’s flagship research institution in Albuquerque.

    An All-American player at the National Collegiate Athletic Association level, Wright preferred playing men’s doubles and was on the team that won the Western Athletic Conference in consecutive years.

    Wright stands fourth in career doubles wins at UNM after compiling an 86-36 record between 1990 and 1994. And in 2011, Wright was the recipient of a Tennis Canada Distinguished Service Award after the national sport organization determined he had made a positive impact on the game.

    Always looking for ways to help others, Wright chose to pitch in and support the Doug Philpott Inner City Children’s Tennis Fund.

    “There comes a time in life when you have to dig deep and help others,” says Wright who, at one time, served as board chairman for the Philpott Fund.

    “For me, it’s all about giving back and trying to help inner city children and youth – providing them with an opportunity to play tennis and have fun.”
    Read Bio
  • Neil Tai-Pow ’11

    Neil Tai-Pow is a strong believer that good mental preparation is a recipe for success – and he’s been able to prove it in the classroom, in the gym and in his career.

    An honors graduate from Upper Canada College, Tai-Pow moved on to study actuarial science and earned a degree, yet again with academic brilliance, intense education and experience, at the University of Western Ontario.

    These days, he’s putting his knowledge to good use as an actuarial associate at London Life in the fields of health insurance, investments, mortgages and more.

    But before his career path got underway, and like most students, growing up wasn’t all strictly on studies.

    He’s a golfer when he has the time and plays some blues, rock and jazz on the guitar for relaxation. Tai-Pow also had an interest in badminton from a young age.

    “I was seven years old, and it was at the Granite Club, when I first started to play badminton,”
    recalls Tai-Pow. “It was different. I had watched others play and thought it would be fun.”

    Tai-Pow got hooked on the sport, focused on getting better and went on, while at UCC, to win a pair of medals at the Pan Am Junior Games.

    The first one was in 2009 in Puerto Rico, teaming with Stephanie Yeung in the mixed doubles under-17 to claim the bronze. A year later, in the Dominican Republic, partner Andrew Wilkinson and Tai-Pow won silver in the under-19 men’s doubles.

    “I remember those events and it was a pretty exhilarating time for me because I was focusing on my grades at UCC and wanted to do well,” says Tai-Pow.

    “Playing badminton and winning — both were important to me because I was always a very competitive individual. You’re always looking for ways to get better and improve, and that goes for everything in life too.”

    Tai Pow would add to his collection of medals and got the elusive gold – but it came at the Ontario high school provincial playoffs, teaming up with Rachel Honderich for the mixed doubles championship.

    Success wasn’t always in the doubles categories, as Tai-Pow claimed four men’s singles titles for UCC at the Conference of Independent Schools Athletic Association finals.

    “The atmosphere at UCC was always great – it was an unforgettable time and gaining friends for life,” he says. “I will always remember how UCC emphasized the values of academic and athletic excellence.”

    After UCC, Tai-Pow continued with badminton, playing four seasons while at Western and on teams that won medals each year. For the past two years, he has taken on the responsibilities as head badminton coach at Western.
    Read Bio
  • Colin Greening ’05

    As a youngster, living in St. John’s, Nfld. and dreaming of a future playing professional hockey, Colin Greening didn’t expect that he would be attending one of the top private high schools in the country.

    “I remember my father took me to a prospects hockey tournament in Prince Edward Island and people were talking about Upper Canada College,” said Greening. “I didn’t know anything about UCC, but my father was excited and so we visited the school.

    “I had just turned 17 and saw everyone at UCC in ties and jackets. I took a deep breath and knew I wasn’t in St. John’s. But, after touring the campus, I had a really good feeling and was sold on attending.”

    Turns out, it was the best move Greening made — and those are his words.

    “Yes, I would (attend UCC again), fantastic memories and it was the best move I made,” said Greening, who now lives in Chicago in the summer and, in the cooler part of the year, resides in Toronto.

    “I was independent for the first time, a teenager away from home and the lifestyle was very different for me — but UCC taught me how to work hard, focus on priorities, the academics were demanding – and I still got to play hockey.”

    Talking about hockey, Greening did see his wish come true – and it was the hard work and determination that helped.

    In 2005, the Ottawa Senators picked Greening in the seventh round, 204th overall in the National Hockey League entry draft.

    But his priority was to complete his education. After graduating from UCC, Greening would later get his business degree from Cornell University. At the Ithaca, N.Y school, he also played all four seasons without missing a game before making his pro hockey debut in Newark against New Jersey in 2011.

    Greening returned to Toronto in 2016, and again it would be wearing the blue and white colours of UCC. But this time, it was in a Maple Leaf uniform – in the trade that sent Dion Phaneuf to Ottawa.

    For Greening, a forward, top scorer at UCC and chosen to the Toronto Star hockey all-star squad, he moved on to play for Nanaimo in the British Columbia Hockey League, then shuffled off to Cornell, had a season in Binghamton in the American Hockey League and played in Denmark in 2012/13. As for Ottawa, he played six seasons.

    But Greening said UCC would always be something special to him.

    “(UCC) was a blessing in disguise,” said Greening. “High school in Newfoundland and then high school at UCC — it was a huge change. But it was UCC, and I remember the amount of work was challenging, that got me on the right path. Going there was one of the best decisions, if not the best, in my life.”

    Also a striker on the UCC soccer team that won a Canadian private school championship, and top scorer in both seasons that he played, Greening would give up the ball and cleats and chose to focus on the stick and skates.

    “The biggest sports highlight for me at UCC was in my first year and scoring the winning goal in overtime over Nichols (Buffalo) for the league championship — and it was right in their own rink,” said Greening.

    “Sports and school were great for me at UCC, but I also came away with good friends and remain close to lots of them.”

    As for his post-hockey career, right now Greening is thinking about a consulting role in the area of nutrition and healthy living.
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  • Matt King ’99

    For years, Matt King was the poster boy for rugby at the high school, university and Canadian national team levels.

    King is a former athlete of the year, multi-sport competitor, recipient of several Ontario championships and most valuable player awards, and that’s just from his time at Upper Canada College, King went on to stardom in a rugged sport that he was first introduced to in Grade 9.

    King played for Canada at two World Cups, had a professional rugby career and was well educated with degrees from Western University and the University of Cambridge. But the articulate and talented King hit a serious roadblock and some significant setbacks the past decade.

    After receiving top fitness scores on the national team, King’s competitive rugby career ended shortly after his 25th birthday.

    It stemmed from a neck injury suffered while playing for Canada. King also learned of an inherited genetic condition. Both health issues resulted in him being unable to play for Canada at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

    “I feel like everything in my life was taken away just when big things were going to happen,” says the 36-year-old, who now lives in Calgary. “It has been a pretty epic battle, far greater than competing on the rugby field or the weight room. But I know I will get through it.”

    Perseverance is huge for King, who’s gritty, resilient and the owner of strong leadership skills. Despite living off a disability allowance, he’s been the recipient of enormous support from his UCC buddies.

    “I received a great education at UCC, and the academics are important,” says King. “But the intangibles make the difference and I learned that at UCC, too.

    “Life can be gloomy at times, but I don’t know where I’d be without my UCC friends. They are one special group.”

    While King has fond memories of being selected Ontario University Athletics rookie of the year and MVP while playing for Western, as well as two provincial rugby gold medals, he pursued further education in the United Kingdom at Cambridge – one of the top universities in the world.

    And playing rugby was always something King held in high esteem.

    “Looking back, my biggest highlight in sport was playing against New Zealand in the World Cup and being recognized as the best Canadian on the field – quite an honour,” he says.

    Yet, my fondest athletic experience was in 1998 when UCC won the Ontario high school rugby championship and we were considered to be the unknown team.

    “Some wonderful days at UCC. Times were so good that I didn’t want to go home after the school day.”
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  • David Hadden ’71

    David Hadden has had his share of memorable moments.

    There was the time he played four professional seasons in the Canadian Football League and later, for 23 years, when he took over the leadership as head of school for Lakefield College School, a private educational institution in Lakefield, Ont..

    Hadden also recalls the notable times leading up to his bachelor of arts and teacher’s degrees at Queen’s University.

    These days, slowing down just a bit from rigorous full-time work, Hadden still faces momentous tasks and challenges as a strategic adviser for Canadian Accredited Independent Schools.

    But there remains something very special that supersedes everything else: Hadden’s days as a student, teacher and coach at Upper Canada College.

    “UCC had a huge and positive impact on my life, from the day I started boarding school in 1964 as a Grade 7 student to the lifelong friends and the wonderful education,” says Hadden, who lives in the picturesque Lakefield community, about a 90-minute drive northeast of Toronto.

    “Gosh, those times at UCC were special years for me.”

    In addition to a strong commitment to education and friendship, there were also indelible times in sports.

    “Looking back, the biggest highlight for me in sport was playing UCC rugby,” says Hadden. “I was a right prop, and we went to the all-Ontario playoffs in 1970 and crushed the field.

    “That was something special. The victories were great, but it was the association with a great group of guys on my team that I’ll always remember.”

    Hadden had a passion for excellence in sport and played on championship football, hockey and rugby teams while at UCC.

    After graduating from UCC in 1971, Hadden chose to attend Queen’s, where he focussed on football and led the league in rushing while averaging almost 20 yards a carry. He was the team MVP in 1973 and was later inducted to the Queen’s Hall of Fame.

    A rugged running back in his educational years, Hadden was affectionately tagged with the nickname “The Beast.”

    Hadden was a CFL first round draft selection of Ottawa in 1974. But he never played for the Rough Riders and, after playing two seasons with Toronto and then a year each for Saskatchewan and Hamilton, his path changed and he embarked on a career in education.

    “What I remember most about being a student at UCC was the incredible character and authenticity from teachers,” recalls Hadden.

    “They were genuine and it was a special culture of educators that brought the best out of us. They permitted us to be our authentic selves.”
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  • O’Neil Halstead ’14

    O’Neil Halstead has made the transition from the volleyball court to basketball hardwood look like a slam-dunk.

    It’s been a few years since Halstead last played both sports at Upper Canada College. But now, on the road to a career in social work, he’s passing time, after studies at York University, by sticking strictly to the game of hoops.

    Basketball isn’t new to Halstead, who played his fair share as a youngster on a variety of community club teams. He even remembers the first time he jammed the ball at UCC – an accomplishment in Grade 9.

    A 6-foot-1 point guard – known more and respected for his excellence in stopping opposing team scorers – Halstead looks back at his alma mater with respect and admiration.

    “I was one of the very fortunate people to have had an opportunity to go to UCC,” recalls Halstead in regard to the financial assistance he received from the College.

    “For me, a kid from the Jane and Weston area, at first I didn’t know much about UCC – or what to expect. But being (at UCC) changed my life for the better. Dealing with people and learning so much from great teachers – it all amounted to a sense of pride.”

    It didn’t take long for Halstead to understand he was a solid fit with UCC.

    “It was a great situation for me – a superb school. The people, teachers and coaches, always found ways to make sure I fit in with everyone. I got the feeling, that with hard work and a strong commitment to do well, I was in the best place.”

    Halstead was the recipient of UCC MVP awards in each of volleyball and basketball – but his biggest highlight didn’t come from points, clutch shots or awards.

    “My highlight in sport at UCC was being associated with a wonderful group of teammates and coaches; it was a special kind of atmosphere,” says Halstead who, not one for personal self gratification, did score 38 points in a junior basketball game, had a few game-winning baskets and was a top scorer on junior and senior teams.

    Focusing now on a degree in Sociology, Halstead said he likes helping people.

    “I respect people who help others and I enjoy building strong relationships,” he says. “I’m not really sure what I’ll be doing in 10 years, but social work is very appealing. If I can help people the way they have helped me, that suits me just fine.”
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 The UCC Difference