The Gee-Gees Football Hall of Fame committee has selected three individual inductees to be celebrated at the 2016 Touchdown Dinner. The event will return to the Chateau Laurier on April 30 to honour the accomplishments of national award winners Chris Banton, Mike Fabiilli, and Brad Sinopoli.
This year’s Touchdown Dinner will kick off the University of Ottawa’s Alumni Week, which will run from April 30-May 7. Tickets will be on sale online starting February 17 for $150 each with tables of 10 available. Registration is open to all alumni, family, and friends of the Gee-Gees football program. The registration deadline is April 22.
Banton and Fabiilli bookended the Gee-Gees teams of the 1980s and remain the only two Gee-Gees to have merited the Peter Gorman Trophy as the national rookie of the year while Sinopoli earned the CIS Hec Crighton Trophy as the most outstanding player in 2010.
“These three inductees made their mark on the Gee-Gees football program with standout performances which endeared them to fans and team mates,” says Julie Tam, interim Director at Sports Services. “It is the right time to recognize all three for their impact on our history.”
Chris Banton was an electric punt returner and suffocating cornerback for the Gee-Gees from 1989-1993. A two-time All-Canadian, Banton amassed 1309 career punt return yards, leading the nation in his final season with 573 yards. The local legend from Ottawa was named to the OQIFC all-star team three times and helped bring the Gee-Gees to the Dunsmore Cup conference final in 1989. Banton signed with the Toronto Argonauts following his senior season and went on to play football professionally in France.
Mike Fabiilli played from 1982-1985 while pursuing a bachelor of arts. His award-winning rookie season at inside linebacker helped the Gee-Gees go undefeated through the regular season. Leading the team in tackles and interceptions, he would be named to the OQIFC all-star team again in 1983 and was a team captain in 1984 before stepping aside due to injuries. Following his playing time with the Gee-Gees, Fabiilli became a teacher at St. Charles College in Sudbury, Ont., where he first gained notice on the football field. He recently celebrated his 29th anniversary teaching at the school where he is the head coach and defensive coordinator for the Cardinals, winning ten city championships along the way.
Brad Sinopoli becomes one of the youngest members to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, being recognized just six years after his final game in garnet and grey. That 2010 season was a landmark for the Peterborough, Ont., native as he set records for passing, touchdowns, and completions en route to the Hec Crighton Trophy. Sinopoli now suits up at receiver for the Ottawa REDBLACKS and was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Canadian in 2015.
The Gee-Gees Football Hall of Fame will have 60 members following the 2016 inductions. The membership recognizes the tradition of football success at the University of Ottawa since 1881 when the team first stepped to the field. The Touchdown Dinner is an annual event which raises money for the University of Ottawa football program.