51st Panda Game to set modern attendance record

Photo courtesy: Ravens Athletics

The Ottawa Gee-Gees and Carleton Ravens are about to meet in front of a huge crowd at TD Place Stadium.

Over 24,600 tickets have been sold to Saturday’s Panda Game, an annual contest between the bitter rivals. That attendance figure will beat the Ottawa Redblacks’ best mark of the season, a crowd of 23,453 from late June.

The game received its moniker from the trophy awarded to the winning team, which is lovingly known as Pedro the Panda (pictured above).

The first Panda Game was played in 1955 and ran annually until the Ravens suspended their football program in 1998. The game returned in 2013 after Carleton brought its program back following a 14-year hiatus.

Last year the Gee-Gees ended a four-year Ravens winning streak with a 38-27 victory. Ottawa leads the all-time Panda Game series with a 33-17 record.

Prominent CFL Panda Game alumni include: Tiger-Cats’ safety Tunde Adeleke, Carleton; Redblacks’ receiver Nate Behar, Carleton; Tiger-Cats’ running Jackson Bennett, Ottawa; and Redblacks’ kicker Lewis Ward, Ottawa.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.