Shortly after graduating from the U of S, Neil Evans (BA'78, BComm'81) and Basil Waslen (BA'78, BComm'78) became friends as professional accountants and through playing hockey together. Little did they know that they would eventually work together to dramatically enhance the experience for hockey players at their alma mater.
Together, Neil and Basil started Pillar Properties Corp. in Saskatoon to develop and manage commercial, industrial, and retail property. Since 2002, Pillar Properties has been responsible for developing notable projects such as University Heights Square Shopping Centre and the acquisition of the Scotiabank Mainbranch and office building on 2nd avenue and 22nd street in Saskatoon.
Pillar Properties is now contributing to the Home Ice Campaign with a generous donation. The campaign is an effort to raise the remaining $7 million to build Merlis Belsher Place, a modern two-storey facility, which will be the home for Huskie hockey teams, campus recreation leagues, and minor hockey.
"As a developer, when we heard about plans for the new facility, we wanted to help," said Basil. "It is a facility that will be utilized by the community, as well as the university. We felt it was important to contribute to the long-term vision of athletics and student experiences."
Though they never crossed paths during their years at the U of S, Neil and Basil both played intramural sports at university. Through their hockey connections, Neil and Basil can attest to the bond that sport creates; another reason they wanted to invest in a new home for hockey.
With a friendship forged through a love of hockey, Pillar Propertiesfounders, Basil Waslen (left) and Neil Evans, have joined the team helping to fund a new home for hockey at the University of Saskatchewan (photo: Dave Stobbe).
"Team sports have a direct relationship to family, community and work," said Neil. "Everyone has a role on a team. It instills an attitude of helping one another and working together. These are important lessons for students."
Giving back to the U of S is not a new venture for Neil and Basil. They both have supported the President's Student Experience Fund and the Neural Health One Voice Fund. Neil and Basil are also part of the Edwards School of Business Dean's Circle and have judged students' business cases.
"Through the Edwards Dean's Circle, I've gained more knowledge and connections with the college," said Basil. "It has been rewarding to continue to be part of the Edwards School of Business and link with current students."
Pillar Properties has always made it a mission to support projects that last for generations–its gift to the Home Ice Campaign supports this philosophy perfectly. "A new ice facility is overdue. The project is now moving forward and we are happy to contribute," said Neil. "Years from now, minor hockey players, student-athletes, everyone who goes to a Huskie hockey game, we all will be proud of this new facility."
Click here to make a gift to the Home Ice Campaign.