Al Tucci, director of training and education at the new TECH says the TECHs interest in the Soo Thunderbirds is as much for education as it is for athletics, and that’s what they are going to focus on.
“We want to create an academy for sports,” Tucci (pictured) says.
The TECH is going to be a centre where the athletes can go to school, do all their nutrition, their physiotherapy and personal training.
“As a group the TECH is very interested in the continuation of the development of hockey here,” says Tucci.
“By starting with the Thunderbirds we can reach down and start with the younger kids as well.”
How are they going to do it? One age group at a time, he says.
“We also have a very strong interest in women’s hockey.” He wants to offer them all the same things as the boys.
“Absolutely,” Tucci said about having a place in the TECHs heart for women’s hockey.
One goal of the TECHs acquisition is to keep local athletes here in the Sault.
The cost of the acquisition which may be on everyone’s mind? Nothing except the league fees.
There was no profit from the sale.
“Our goal is to become a private school but still offer an Ontario Secondary School Diploma,” says Tucci. “We will have college courses here in the trades and the arts.”
There will be a music academy, culinary arts, music production, welding, carpentry, hairstyling, paramedics and more.
“They need to have something to fall back on. Not everyone is going to make the NHL,” says Tucci. But they are going to try their best, including offering every opportunity to get scholarships.
“There’s all kinds of careers in sports,” he said. “You don’t have to be a player.”
He’s hoping to spark interest from out of town too.
“The better job we do to create an athlete and an academic, the more interest we are going to get from out of town.”
The TECH is hoping to approach all other leagues and teams but they are still reeling from the Thunderbirds acquisition.
“Let me make it clear that we are not going to put athletics ahead of academics. They are equally important to us.”