Gee-Gees win the 52nd Panda Game at TD Place
OTTAWA -- Pedro the Panda will remain enrolled at the University of Ottawa for another year.
Campbell Fair kicked a 45-yard field goal with one minute left to give the Gee-Gees a 19-17 win over the Carleton Ravens in the Panda Game at TD Place.
A sold-out crowd of 15,000 people braved the rainy conditions for the 52nd Panda Game.
This year's Panda Game reignited the rivalry between Ottawa's two universities after a one-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It's amazing, despite the rain, despite the fact it has an impact on the score. Nothing like it," said one fan at TD Place.
"Electricity is the only word that can describe it. I can promise you that, electricity," said another fan.
While some fans enjoyed their first or second Panda Game, for others it was a chance to renew a decades long tradition.
"We all call each other and say, "it's Panda Day', we're going to go," said one fan. "1975 Vanier Cup Champions college champions, we all played ball together at uOttawa."
Saturday's victory was the third straight win in the Panda Game for the Gee-Gees. UOttawa also won the crosstown rivalry in 2018 and 2019. Last year's game was cancelled when the OUA shutdown the football season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
TD Place had full COVID-19 measures in place for Saturday's game, including proof of full vaccination to enter the facility and masks inside the stadium.
"We've taken the emphasis off the party and talked about safe party," said Mark Goudie, president of the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group. "The universities have done a great job of making this a safer event but keeping it fun for the students."
Ottawa police and bylaw deployed extra resources into Sandy Hill, Old Ottawa South and the Glebe before and after the game, and at Lansdowne Park.
Coun. Mathieu Fleury says thousands of fans attended the pregame tailgate party at the Sandy Hill Arena.
"Compared to most universities in Ontario we're doing a very good job. Carleton and uOttawa I feel like don't have as many block parties, we didn't see any," said Fleury.
Officials say there were no major incidents at TD Place during the game.
Before the games, the Gee-Gees and Ravens paid tribute to Gee-Gees lineman Francis Perron, who died shortly after uOttawa's first game of the season two weeks ago.
Perron's family attended the game at TD Place.