The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees will pay tribute to Francis Perron by returning to play this weekend

There will be a moment of silence before the game, as will be the case for all OUA games this weekend.

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Out of deep respect and to better honor the memory of Francis Perron, the show will go on Saturday for the Gee-Gees football team from the University of Ottawa.


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After Perron’s death shortly after last weekend’s season opener at the University of Toronto, the Gee-Gees spent days mourning and examining their conscience.

The players have been meeting regularly with the school’s mental health experts about how best to deal with the tragedy.

Perron, 25, a fifth-year defensive lineman for the Gee-Gees and a mechanical engineering student, was part of the team’s glue.

In the end, the consensus among the players was that they would fulfill Perron’s wishes by playing on Saturday at Kingston against Queen’s.

“I played four seasons with Frank, he was very close to Frank,” said Michael Pezzuto, a fellow defensive lineman, Thursday afternoon as it rained heavily before Gee-Gees practice.


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“He was always a guy who gave 100 percent to everything. A replay was never removed. He never took a day off. So he would want us to go out and go out and play, and win this game for him. “

It will not be a normal game. No way.

The Gee-Gees will have Perron with them on the sidelines, in the form of his number 99 jersey contained in a special frame.

There will be a moment of silence before the game, as will be the case for all OUA games this weekend.

All OUA teams will also wear decals no. 99 on their helmets for the remainder of the season.

A larger celebration for Perron, with the assistance of his parents, will take place during the October 2 Panda Game against Carleton.

No details on the cause of death have been released and the Gee-Gees canceled all soccer-related events on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.


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On Wednesday, head coach Marcel Bellefeuille had in-depth discussions with the team, leaving it up to them how to proceed.

Bellefeuille has a long and successful history with the Gee-Gees, leading them to the Vanier Cup as Canadian college champions in 2000.

University of Ottawa defensive lineman Francis Perron died after his team's first game of the season at the University of Toronto.
University of Ottawa defensive lineman Francis Perron died after his team’s first game of the season at the University of Toronto. Photo by Greg Mason /Ottawa College Athletics

After spending nearly two decades in the CFL, including a stint as the head coach of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, he returned to the Gee-Gees in 2020. With COVID-19 wiped out last season, he was busy trying to rebuild and change. the name of the team. team, hoping to model it after a top NCAA Division 1 team.

Nothing could have prepared him for tragedy in his first game as a coach.

“We are going through a very difficult time,” said Bellefeuille. “For me, I told the team, ‘If we don’t play another game this season, that’s fine with me.’ “


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What concerned him most was whether the players were ready to play again, whether it would be good for their sanity to return to the field, and he wanted your feedback on what Perron’s wishes might have been.

Bellefeuille also made it clear that everyone suffers differently and that it was an individual choice. Some players may be able to opt out this weekend, but if that’s the case, he made it clear that the locker room would be open for them when they decided to return.

“We are going to re-evaluate after practice (Thursday) to see who feels ready to play,” he said. “We will have a group session and report with some of the university’s mental health experts.”

Bellefeuille is not surprised by the sheer amount of support across the board for Perron. He called him a “low maintenance” player, who had a huge impact on those around him.


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Perron, originally from Sherbrooke, started his Gee-Gees career in 2017. He was a star in the 2019 Panda Game win over the city’s rival, Carleton Ravens. He was also a two-time Canadian sports academic from the U.

“He was a very important player on our team, he did everything with excellence, whether it was in school or on the field,” said Bellefeuille.

“Francis was the supreme leader. He had the number one leadership skill. He did everything by example. That is one part that you cannot replace. He was excellent in all aspects of his life. That’s what you want in your show. “

For Pezzuto, it was universal respect that made Perron so special.

“He was a guy you could always count on,” she said. “Whenever things go wrong, he was the only guy I could count on to keep doing it right.”

Pezzuto appreciates all the support the Gee-Gees have received during the dueling process and in the run-up to Saturday’s game.

“Having all the fans behind us and having Frank there to look down on us … I think it’s going to be a good result for us and everyone will be ready to go out there and bang some heads.”

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