Justin Dean picks up his bright orange chainsaw and revs it a few times so that the crowd can hear it roar. A member of the Algonquin College loggersports team, Dean begins to cut a 3-inch end piece off a log that is stamped with the Ottawa Redblacks logo creating a “cookie.”
It marks the moment each time the Redblacks score a touchdown.
And on this night on Sept. 29, Dean and the rest of the team put on a show for the fans in attendance at the Redblacks game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Headquartered at Algonquin’s Pembroke campus, the team partnered with the Redblacks association in 2014 as a link to Ottawa’s history in the lumber industry. The importance of incorporating this history with the business was one of the main priorities according to Randy Burgess, the vice-president of communications and content for the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group.
“If it wasn’t for the lumber industry, Ottawa wouldn’t be around,” says Burgess. “When the Redblacks came to be, we wanted to capitalize on that authentic founding of Ottawa as part of our overall brand.”
After being inspired by the Portland Timbers, a major league soccer team, they went searching for any loggersports teams in the region and found the Pembroke campus squad. A representative from the Redblacks then reached out to Chris Ryan, loggersports coach and faculty of the forestry program at Algonquin’s Pembroke campus.
“As soon as we found out about the loggersports program in Pembroke we thought yes, they may very well be the guys,” said Burgess. ““The partnership is very strong.”
“Hopefully it’s great exposure for the school; it’s been great for the fans and that’s really what it’s all about,” said Burgess.
The cookies are very special to the Redblacks community since they are not sold anywhere and you cannot buy them.
They were presented to community heroes during the game with a group of firefighters who saved lives last year.
“It’s a symbol of excellence,” says Burgess on how the cookies represent achievement and success.
Jeff Pillar, loggersports team member, says the only worry while creating these sacred cookies is to “make sure you get the chainsaw started otherwise… it’s pretty embarrassing.”
The loggersports team consists of five members, starting with Jeff Pillar, Taylor Popkie, Jessie Shay, Justin Dean and Gill Gamble. The team rotates the cookie cutting responsibility during the game.