Gee-Gee football player on field
Panda Game is on Oct. 1. Image: Bardia Boomer/Fulcrum.
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Here are the best rivalry matchups to catch this year

It’s been a few years since the campus was this lively, with so many new students who haven’t had in-person classes prior to this past week, and haven’t had the experience of sitting in the stands at Gee-Gees games.

So for those new to the University of Ottawa — here’s a list of must-see, live sporting events that the Gees will be participating in this season.

Panda Game

This is the premier sporting event in Canadian university sports. Not many games are as big between schools, but the rivalry between these two Ottawa-based universities is intense. You may know about the epic highs and lows of high school football, but I can guarantee you’ve never seen a Canadian university sports event as big as this one.

The Panda Game is an annual football game which sees the University of Ottawa take on their cross-town foes, Carleton University. The winning team receives the prized ‘Pedro the Panda’ trophy, along with the bragging rights of being the best in the city until the next fall.

This year marks the 53rd Panda Game in history. The Gee-Gees currently lead the head-to-head series 35-17 and are looking to further their dominance, as they’ve won the past three Panda Games.

This event is still fun even if you aren’t a regular football goer or don’t know the rules. The comradery and school spirit is at an all-time high, and you can feel it when the winning school’s fans invade the field after their team wins. This was especially evident one year, when Carleton won on a last-second hail mary, but the game never officially ended as fans stormed the field before the extra point attempt.

Tickets are all but gone, so if you want to indulge in the festivities, you have to act fast, or you might have to try your hand at resellers to obtain a ticket.

The game will be on October 1st at TD Place Stadium in Lansdowne.

Colonel By Classic

In Canada, there’s no game like the good old hockey game. If you’re someone who believes that, then you will not want to miss this battle on the ice.

Out of the three events on this list, this is the youngest. The Colonel By Classic is a hockey game which sees the University of Ottawa take on their rivals, Carleton University, on the ice. This annual event started in the 2016-2017 academic year. 

The game used to be solely the men’s teams playing, however, the last iteration included the women’s sides for the first time. 

The game is usually hosted at TD Place, where the Ottawa 67’s of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) play. 

If you want to see end-to-end action, big hits, dirty dangles and top-shelf snipes, this is the game you’ll want to go to.

The event usually happens sometime between October and November so keep your eyes out for more information.

Capital Hoops Classic

Capital Hoops is a doubleheader of basketball games. Like the aforementioned events, the Gees will take on the Carleton Ravens. The men’s and women’s basketball teams participate in this sporting event on the same night, one after the other, making for an exciting spectacle.

This year, it’ll mark the fifteenth rendition of this rivalry series matchup. In recent history, the game was held at Carleton University, but the year before the pandemic, it was held in TD Place. Once and prior to that, it was held at the Canadian Tire Centre. The last Capital Hoops Classic was held at Carleton University, where it saw the Ravens sweep the Gees—but maybe that was just home-court advantage.

Unfortunately for the Gee-Gees, Carleton has dominated the series over its lifespan on both the men’s and women’s sides. On the men’s side, Carleton is 12-3 against the U of O, and on the women’s side, it’s a bit closer, but Carleton still leads 9-5. Still, it must be said the University of Ottawa has won two of the last three. 

The games usually average around 8000-10000 people, so it’s a decent-sized crowd, but in an arena, the sounds carry well. This event is more of a fast-paced sporting event than Panda, which helps keep everyone engaged. Basketball is a game of runs, and when teams start heating up, you can feel the passion from their school’s fans.

This game usually takes place in the early winter months of the year, so be on the lookout for when the date of the game is posted.