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Ottawa RedBlacks and Algonquin College enter deal

By Stephen Uhler, The Daily Observer

The Ottawa RedBlacks lumberjack sharpens his cross cut sawing skills with the help of Thor, the Algonquin College mascot, during Tuesday's announcement of a partnership between the two organizations. The school's Loggersports team will be demonstrating their lumberjack skills at Ottawa's CFL home games.

The Ottawa RedBlacks lumberjack sharpens his cross cut sawing skills with the help of Thor, the Algonquin College mascot, during Tuesday's announcement of a partnership between the two organizations. The school's Loggersports team will be demonstrating their lumberjack skills at Ottawa's CFL home games.

Algonquin College's crack Loggersports team is partnering with the Ottawa RedBlacks CFL team to celebrate the logging heritage both represent.

On Tuesday, Jeff Hunt, president of Sports for the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, the parent company of the RedBlacks, was on hand at Pembroke's waterfront campus to help announce the new partnership between the team and the college, in which the Loggersports team will provide game-day entertainment for the new CFL team.

In this case, the Loggersports team will be demonstrating their lumberjack skills during special events occurring within the game, such as in the aftermath of Ottawa touchdowns.

"When we were working on branding our team, we wanted to pay tribute to the history of Ottawa as a lumber town," Hunt said. "Our logo features a saw blade background, and our mascot is a lumberjack."

While trying to come up with ways to enhance the fan experience at games while working with this logging motif and tradition, Hunt found out about the Loggersports Varsity Team, which he admits to not knowing much about until recently.

The team consists of men and women who who spend hundreds of hours training for competitions in events such as chain sawing, axe throwing, pole climbing and cross cut sawing.

Once he saw what they could do, Hunt said he knew the team would be a good fit into the fabric of the RedBlacks organization, which in its inaugural season is still creating its own customs and traditions. Their lumberjack mascot, for instance, still doesn't have a name yet, but will soon.

"It is neat to add something unique to enhance the game experience," Hunt said.

Loggersports, which has been around for 25 years and is the sole varsity team Algonquin College has, is a member of the Canadian Lumberjacking Association and competes in two major tournaments each academic year, going head-to-head against colleges and universities from across Eastern Canada and the Northeastern United States.

Algonquin College itself is thrilled to be a part of this, said Karen Davies, the college's Pembroke campus dean.

"We are not only getting a great CFL team in Ottawa again," she said, "but this partnership is opening up a whole new world of experiences for our students beyond the campus."

Chris Ryan, Loggersports coach, said this is great exposure for their team members and an opportunity for them to demonstrate to a large audience what a wonderful sport it is they take part in.

"We're thrilled and very proud to be the official Loggersports team of the RedBlacks and we wish them tremendous success in this their inaugural season," he said.

The RedBlacks kick off for the first time July 18.

Stephen Uhler is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist


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