Panda Game
PandaGameLogo.svg
Teams
First meeting1955
Carleton 14, Ottawa 6
Latest meetingOctober 2, 2021
Ottawa 19, Carleton 17
Next meetingTBD
StadiumsTD Place Stadium
TrophyPedro the Panda (3rd Version)
Statistics
Meetings total52
All-time seriesOttawa leads, 35–17
Largest victoryOttawa, 44–0 (1957)
Longest win streakOttawa, 7 (1957–1963)
Current win streakOttawa, 3 (2018–present)

The Panda Game is a Canadian rivalry football game between the two OUA football teams in Ottawa, Ontario, the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees and Carleton University Ravens. It is one of the oldest and richest rivalries in Canadian university football. Its name is derived from the trophy presented to the winner each year; Pedro the Panda. The game is part of the regular East division season, but is celebrated profusely due to its history, the week preceding the game sometimes referred to as "Panda Week". uOttawa is located in the downtown Sandy Hill neighbourhood of the city, while Carleton is between Old Ottawa South and Dow's Lake.

Creation and further history

In 1955, Bryan McNulty, a University of Ottawa student and associate editor for the Fulcrum and Thomas White, decided to promote the rivalry between their school and Carleton University. They asked a local jeweller, Jack Snow, to donate a stuffed panda that would be named "Pedro" to be used as a Gee-Gee mascot (as they had not adopted the Gee-Gee horse mascot yet).[1] McNulty and White later convinced Snow to display the panda in his front window and then organized the first "Pandanapping", a ritual in which Pedro would be stolen from each campus in various ways. "Pandanapping" would progress over the years to the point where major vandalism was involved and almost jeopardized the game's future.

In a short matter of time, both Pedro and the Panda Game itself became national icons. In 1958, after a 25–0 Gee-Gee victory, Pedro went on a world tour. He made visits to McGill University in Montréal, Dalhousie University in Halifax, the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, UCLA in Los Angeles, and Alabama State University in Montgomery. It is said that Pedro was even sent to Peru, Mexico and Europe.[2]

The game quickly became the most well-known football game in Canada behind the Grey Cup and the Vanier Cup. The attendance at the Panda Game one year exceeded 16,000, which was higher than that of the Vanier Cup that same season.

1987 tragedy

By the time the 1980s had come, the Panda Game had gained a reputation for being a drunken party more than a football game.

The 1987 edition brought heavily packed stands, eventually leading to the snap of a railing. 30 Ravens fans fell roughly 16 feet onto concrete. Many students sustained broken bones and concussions, while one female student broke her neck and spent 20 days in a coma.[3][4]

The future of the Panda Game was in doubt after the incident, but the tradition ultimately carried on. The 1988 game was heavily monitored by police and there was a general lack of enthusiasm about the event.

Cancellation, eventual return

In 1998, it was decided that Carleton University would be cancelling their football program at the end of the season after numerous years of sustained financial losses. This decision rendered the Panda Game tradition dead and left the Gee-Gees as the lone collegiate football team in the city for the first time in 53 years.

The late 2000s brought rumours that Carleton may once again look to field a football team sometime in the near future. After years of planning, in 2013 the Ravens once again took the field and would mark the return of the Panda Game tradition. 2013's Panda Game was a success with approximately 4,000 fans packing the brand-new Gee-Gees Field, the game resulted in the Gee-Gees getting their hands on a Pedro trophy after a dominant 35–10 win.[5]

The 2020 Panda Game was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

New era at TD Place

It was announced that the 2014 Panda Game was to be held at the newly renovated 24,000 seat TD Place Stadium, becoming the first time the game returned to its former home at Lansdowne Park.

The Panda Game in 2014 was another wildly successful venture, the use of TD Place saw the crowd grow to 12,000 as the Ravens came away with a last second Hail Mary catch to win the game 33–31. Fans immediately stormed the field, and to this day the game remains unfinished, as the extra point was never kicked among the frenzy.

The 2015 edition saw a then-record attendance of 17,596.[6] It was also the highest scoring Panda Game of all time with a combined score of 93 points,[7] crushing the previous record of 77 points in 1975.

In 2016, the No. 7 ranked Gee-Gees came into the game undefeated (4–0) as they faced the No. 10 Ravens (3–2). Surpassing the previous season's record attendance mark, the 2016 Panda Game was a sellout as 23,329 fans at TD Place Stadium watched Carleton defeat Ottawa 43–23.[8] It was the most attended U Sports football regular season football game in at least two decades.[9]

Game results

Year Site Winning team Score Losing team Score Series tally Notes
1955 Lansdowne Park Carleton 14 Ottawa 6 CAR 1–0 First official Panda Game
1956 Lansdowne Park Carleton 14 Ottawa 10 CAR 2–0
1957 Lansdowne Park Ottawa 44 Carleton 0 CAR 2–1 Biggest blowout in Panda Game history
1958 Lansdowne Park Ottawa 23 Carleton 0 TIE 2–2
1959 Lansdowne Park Ottawa 42 Carleton 0 OTT 3–2
1960 Lansdowne Park Ottawa 28 Carleton 6 OTT 4–2
1961 Lansdowne Park Ottawa 13 Carleton 12 OTT 5–2
1962 Lansdowne Park Ottawa 13 Carleton 10 OTT 6–2
1963 Lansdowne Park Ottawa 41 Carleton 21 OTT 7–2
1964 Lansdowne Park Carleton 40 Ottawa 33 OTT 7–3
1965 Lansdowne Park Ottawa 27 Carleton 19 OTT 8–3
1966 Lansdowne Park Ottawa 28 Carleton 13 OTT 9–3
1967 Lansdowne Park Ottawa 36 Carleton 20 OTT 10–3
1968 Lansdowne Park Ottawa 28 Carleton 27 OTT 11–3
1969 Lansdowne Park Carleton 21 Ottawa 20 OTT 11–4
1970 Lansdowne Park Ottawa 29 Carleton 20 OTT 12–4
1971 Lansdowne Park Carleton 28 Ottawa 14 OTT 12–5
1972 Lansdowne Park Ottawa 31 Carleton 14 OTT 13–5
1973 Lansdowne Park Ottawa 21 Carleton 14 OTT 14–5
1974 Lansdowne Park Ottawa 48 Carleton 7 OTT 15–5
1975 Lansdowne Park Ottawa 55 Carleton 22 OTT 16–5 Gee-Gees go on to win National Championship
1976 Lansdowne Park Ottawa 19 Carleton 14 OTT 17–5
1977 Lansdowne Park Carleton 36 Ottawa 16 OTT 17–6
1978 Lansdowne Park Carleton 24 Ottawa 13 OTT 17–7
1979 Lansdowne Park Ottawa 28 Carleton 16 OTT 18–7 1st Pedro retires
1980 Lansdowne Park Carleton 30 Ottawa 21 OTT 18–8
1981 Lansdowne Park Ottawa 29 Carleton 0 OTT 19–8
1982 Lansdowne Park Ottawa 19 Carleton 7 OTT 20–8
1983 Lansdowne Park Carleton 28 Ottawa 23 OTT 20–9
1984 Lansdowne Park Carleton 30 Ottawa 18 OTT 20–10
1985 Lansdowne Park Carleton 34 Ottawa 27 OTT 20–11
1986 Lansdowne Park Ottawa 30 Carleton 29 OTT 21–11
1987 Lansdowne Park Carleton 8 Ottawa 4 OTT 21–12 See "1987 Tragedy"
1988 Lansdowne Park Ottawa 29 Carleton 9 OTT 22–12
1989 Lansdowne Park Ottawa 23 Carleton 11 OTT 23–12
1990 Lansdowne Park Ottawa 30 Carleton 17 OTT 24–12
1991 Lansdowne Park Ottawa 34 Carleton 15 OTT 25–12
1992 Lansdowne Park Ottawa 17 Carleton 6 OTT 26–12
1993 Lansdowne Park Ottawa 21 Carleton 3 OTT 27–12
1994 Lansdowne Park Carleton 27 Ottawa 15 OTT 27–13
1995 Lansdowne Park Ottawa 35 Carleton 8 OTT 28–13
1996 Lansdowne Park Ottawa 28 Carleton 0 OTT 29–13
1997 Keith Harris Stadium Ottawa 22 Carleton 19 OTT 30–13
1998 Keith Harris Stadium Ottawa 59 Carleton 17 OTT 31–13 Ravens team cancelled following season
2013 Gee-Gees Field Ottawa 35 Carleton 10 OTT 32–13 Triumphant return of Panda Game
2014 TD Place Stadium Carleton 33 Ottawa 31 OTT 32–14 Last second Hail Mary catch
2015 TD Place Stadium Carleton 48 Ottawa 45 OTT 32–15 Overtime victory, highest scoring game in Panda history
2016 TD Place Stadium Carleton 43 Ottawa 23 OTT 32–16 Sellout crowd (23,329)
2017 TD Place Stadium Carleton 33 Ottawa 30 OTT 32–17 Overtime victory, Sellout crowd (24,420)[10]
2018 TD Place Stadium Ottawa 38 Carleton 27 OTT 33–17 50th Panda Game
2019 TD Place Stadium Ottawa 32 Carleton 10 OTT 34–17 Attendance record (24,600)
2021 TD Place Stadium Ottawa 19 Carleton 17 OTT 35–17

See also

Capital Hoops Classic

References

  1. ^ "Panda-Monium". Retrieved 2014-06-03.
  2. ^ "Panda-Monium". Retrieved 2014-06-03.
  3. ^ "Archives 1987 Panda Game". Retrieved 2014-06-03.
  4. ^ "Panda-Monium". Retrieved 2014-06-03.
  5. ^ "Gees-Gees Dominate Panda Bowl". 10 October 2013. Retrieved 2014-06-03.
  6. ^ 2015 Panda Game a huge success for Ravens Football
  7. ^ "580 CFRA News Talk Radio :: Carleton Ravens win 47th Panda Game :: News - Article". www.cfra.com. Archived from the original on 2015-10-05.
  8. ^ Carleton Ravens knock off Ottawa Gee-Gees in Panda Game
  9. ^ "Ravens thump Gee-Gees to extend Panda Game win streak to three".
  10. ^ @TD_Place (2017-09-30). "Looks like Pedro 🐼 is staying with the #Ravens another year. CONGRATULATIONS @curavens on your 33-30 OT #PandaGame victory!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.