Friday, May 24, 2024

Panda Game to be held on a Sunday again after successful event in 2023

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The 2024 Panda Game between the Carleton Ravens and the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees men’s football teams is scheduled for a Sunday for the second year in a row.

According to the Ontario University Athletics schedule, uOttawa and Carleton are scheduled to meet on Oct. 6. The annual rivalry game between Ottawa’s two universities draws tens of thousands of students to TD Place Stadium and leads to parties in student districts around the city.

Carleton University said the success of holding the game on a Sunday in 2023 led them to do it again this year.

“The partnership of Carleton University, the University of Ottawa, and Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group has decided to have the game remain on Sunday after a successful event last year,” a statement said. “Last year demonstrated successful community integration and engagement around a day full of activities. Carleton’s work with the city and community groups ensures we continue to foster a positive, safe, and fun day for all involved.”

The game has traditionally been played on a Saturday, but last year it was held on a Sunday. The universities said it was due to stadium availability because the Ottawa Redblacks were playing a home game on Sept. 30 and because of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was being marked on Saturday. The game, however, had drawn criticism because of chaotic parties in Sandy Hill in 2021 and 2022 that led to property damage, violence and numerous arrests and charges.

“We are proud of the success of the 2023 Panda Game, which was the result of years of positive collaboration and consultation with community partners like the City of Ottawa and Action Sandy Hill,” said uOttawa spokesperson Jesse Robichaud.

“In 2024, the University of Ottawa, Carleton University and OSEG are working together to build on the successful changes that were incorporated into last year’s event, including a Sunday noontime kickoff. We are enthusiastically planning for a 2024 Panda Game that will continue to enhance safety and fun. A full slate of activities surrounding the big game will be announced at a future date.”

Last year, there were no reports of any significant issues following the game. In addition to the schedule change, the universities held on-campus events. Police said two people were arrested for public intoxication but no other major problems arose.

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