Volume 12 Week 5

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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

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Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney



Ontario Varsity Football
Former Panther inducted into OVFL Hall of Fame
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

When Brendan Gillanders first strapped on a pair of shoulder pads at the tender age of nine, playing in the CFL and one day earning a spot in the Ontario Varsity Foot-ball Hall of Fame were the farthest thing from his mind.

Having fun with his friends while playing a sport that he would come to love was motivation enough.

Sixteen years later, Gillanders passion for the sport is still as strong as it’s ever been, even after suffering a knee injury that will keep him out of the Ottawa Redblacks lineup for a couple more weeks.

“It’s the best sport in the world and its been pretty good to me so far,” said Gillanders after receiving his OVFL Hall of Fame ring prior to the start of the Cumber-land Panthers bantam varsity game last Saturday.

Gillanders began his football career as a tyke with the Cumberland Panthers. He stayed with the ckub all the way to senior varsity before going to the University of Ottawa where he had a successful collegiate career with the Gee-Gees.

After graduating from school, he was signed as a free agent by the Toronto Argonauts in December 2013. During two seasons in Toronto he appeared in 30 games and was named special teams captain.

When the Argos declined to resign him after last season, he decided to come home and signed a free agent contract with the Redblacks.

Before injuring his knee in practice, Gillanders was pegged to see some work at fullback and on special teams. He’s expected to be out of the lineup another three to four weeks. The 25-year-old is taking it the situation day to day.

“It’s football. Injuries happen unfortunately, but I didn’t come to Ottawa to watch from the sidelines. I’ll be back out there helping them soon and I’m looking forward to my first home game in front of the fans,” said Gillanders who has a reputation of being a stand-up guy and never complaining about things he can’t control.

A coach once described Gillanders as the kind of kid he’d like to marry his daughter. And in an interview with the Ottawa Sun’s Tim Baines this past spring, he discussed the importance of being a character guy.

“Football is football,” said Gillanders. “It has been and always will be an important part of my life. But outside of football, I want people to recognize me and remember me for being a character guy and how I act. I’m on the football field for two hours a day so maybe I’m off the field for 22 hours a day, right? It’s important to me how people view me.”

That type of attitude is one of the reasons Gillanders was selected for induction into the OVFL Hall of Fame.

Although he didn’t now much about the Hall of Fame when he first found out he was being inducted, he’s now a proud member having learned more about it prior to the ring ceremony.

“I didn’t realize how big of a deal it is. The OVFL Hall of Fame is part of the CFl Hall of Fame,” said Gillanders.

Looking back on his minor football career, Gillanders says he got a lot of help from some great coaches including Dix Lawson, Wayne Blakely and Wayne Carle, all of whom coached him during his tenure with the Panthers.

“I was pretty lucky to come up through such a top notch club with some great coaches,” said Gillanders. “They helped make me the player I am today.”

(Posted 6:30 a.m., June 25)

 

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