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Student Spotlight: a passion for sport

Hilmi Ordukiran left Turkey with a dream and is realizing it in Canada

(October 24, 2023) - Even when faced with adversity, Hilmi Ordukiran, a third-year Sports Administration student at Laurentian University, led with kindness and determination down a winding road to follow his passion and land where he is today.

Before pursuing a career in sports administration, Hilmi was on track to becoming an engineer. He began a degree in Metallurgy in Istanbul, Turkey where he was born and raised. However, in his second year, Hilmi moved to Germany in 2011 to undertake a Chemical Engineering degree while learning the language and culture of the country.

Volkswagen, German automobile manufacturer, hired Hilmi to take on a co-op position in Interior Quality Insurance during his summer as a student. Although he received great work experience and was grateful for this position, Hilmi discovered that engineering was not the career for him.

Hilmi was at a dead end. He felt burnt out, had no career plans and missed his family. He returned to Turkey in 2016 and received a call that would change his life forever. 

Hilmi’s family had been involved with Fenerbahçe S.K., a sports club in Turkey, for over fifteen years and he grew up attending sporting events with his family. He received a call from Fenerbahçe S.K offering him a position assisting a Head Coach from the Netherlands who was coming to Turkey. Hilmi, who spoke English and German, was an asset to Fenerbahçe S.K and assisted many athletes during their transfer to Turkey over the duration of two seasons. 

“The day I received that call from Fenerbahçe S.K is the day I decided sports is the industry I will stay in no matter what it takes,” said Hilmi.

To follow that dream, Hilmi and his wife decided they would move to Canada as Hilmi had been accepted to Georgian College’s Sports Administration program. After his time in the program, he once again sought to further himself and decided to enroll in Laurentian’s Sports Administration program. “I had been working and studying for almost fifteen years and never got the degree. I was almost there but it was always something I didn't reach. I decided that was the time for me to finally get this degree,” said Hilmi. 

Hilmi was drawn to the commercial and mathematical aspect of Laurentian’s program. “I enjoy mathematics and discovered that sports analytics is important to me as well. Professional sports teams have coaches that just work on numbers, I hope to do something like that in the future,” said Hilmi.

During his education, Hilmi worked with a variety of sports companies and national sports organizations. He is passionate about continuing to teach within coaching: “Teaching, I think, is worth something for these young athletes.” As a soccer and water polo athlete himself, Hilmi understands the importance of mentorship and guidance.

Hilmi is also passionate about giving back to his country. He reached out to program professors and administration, including Dr. Anthony Church, Director of Sports Administration at Laurentian, to help aid his cause. “During challenging times in my country after an earthquake, the Laurentian community was behind me. We collected a nice amount of goods to send to Turkey. That was great, I am really thankful that I chose Laurentian University,” said Hilmi.

After a long and winding road, Hilmi is excited to be graduating next year. He hopes to continue coaching, following his passion for sports, and making a positive difference within his home country.