New Sunday slot for Panda Game highlights 2023 OUA schedule release

Photo courtesy: Ottawa Gee-Gees

Ontario University Athletics (OUA) has unveiled its 2023 football schedule and it involves a major change to one of the biggest games on the calendar.

In Week 6, the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees and Carleton Ravens will clash at TD Place in the 54th edition of the Panda Game at noon EST on Sunday, October 1. The historic rivalry has traditionally been held on a Saturday, becoming a source of controversy in the Ottawa community for its large crowds and raucous parties after the fact.

The move to Sunday was precipitated by a scheduling conflict, as the Ottawa Redblacks are slated to host the Montreal Alouettes on Saturday, September 30. That date also marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

Other key rivalries will remain on their traditional days, as the Battle of Waterloo between the Waterloo Warriors and Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks will take place in Week 4 on Saturday, September 16. Week 7 will feature the Red and Blue Bowl between the Toronto Varsity Blues and York Lions on Friday, October 6 in the lead-up to Thanksgiving.

The schedule officially kicks off on Saturday, August 26 with a triple-header at 1:00 p.m. EST. The Guelph Gryphons will play host to Toronto, Waterloo will visit Ottawa, and York will host the defending Yates Cup champion Western Mustangs to begin the season. Laurier will travel to the Queen’s Gaels in the afternoon, before the Windsor Lancers and McMaster Marauders finish the Week 1 action with a nightcap.

The Yates Cup rematch between Western and Queen’s will take place in Week 4, with the Mustangs travelling to Kingston on Saturday, September 16.

The regular season is scheduled to conclude on Saturday, October 21 with a five-game slate. Seven playoff spots will be up for grabs amongst the 11 teams, with no one locking up their final place in the standings until the final week of last season.

The top-seeded school will earn a bye into the semifinals, while the remaining six teams will battle to advance on October 28. The semi-finalists will play the following week on November 4, before the 115th Yates Cup is awarded on Saturday, November 11.