“He’s a player that the coach can trust, that his fellow players can trust on the field to give 100% and do his job.”
– James Yurichuk, special teams captain
Occupation: Fullback for the Ottawa Red Blacks in the Canadian Football League
Ottawa Red Blacks
- Gillanders was born in Orleans, Ontario
- He attended Sir Wilfrid Laurier S.S.
- Gillanders has a degree in human kinetics from the University of Ottawa and he is certified as a personal trainer
- The CFL’s been a goal for a long time so I wasn’t going to let anything stop me. Attitude is everything.”
- One intangible is his character. A coach once described Gillanders as the kind of kid he’d like to marry his daughter.
- “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,” he said. “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.”
- Gillanders got his introduction to football with the Cumberland Panthers, an organization within the National Capital Amateur Football Association. Along the way, he had influences from coaches like Wayne Carle and Wayne Blakeley, then later Rick Varden and Eric Kukkonen at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School.
Personal and Professional Experiences
- Gillanders attended the University of Ottawa where he played CIS football
- Gillanders was a two-time OUA All-Star and in 2013 he was named second team All-Canadian
- In 2013, Gillanders was named the first-team Ontario University Athletics all-star
- On December 18, 2013, Gillanders was signed by the Toronto Argonauts and he is now a special-team member
- In the offseason, Gillanders works as a strength and conditioning coach for youth football teams in Ottawa
“Redblacks pull off huge upset to win 104th Grey Cup in OT”
…Gillanders is thrilled to be in Ottawa, where family and friends are quickly snapping up game tickets and Brendan’s No. 25 Redblacks jersey from local outlets.
“It’s great to be home and it’s great to be on a championship calibre team,” says the former Gee-Gees captain.
Of course, having his own personal cheering section is only part of the reason for this Orleans native to come home..
“Whatever role they have for me I’m going to embrace, whether it’s blocking out of the backfield, catching out of the backfield or getting a handoff as a true running back,” he says.
Lavoie, 28, is more than a little excited at having added Canadian strength in the backfield with the acquisition of Gillanders.
“I don’t want to say something I’m going to regret, but I’m pretty sure we’re the best fullback duo in the league right now,” Lavoie says.
“I think Brendan is a great athlete. He runs fast, he’s got good hands, runs good routes. He’s more a running back-slash-fullback, I’m more of a fullback-slash-tight end/receiver.”
For Gillanders, life has been hectic since becoming a Redblack. He and his girlfriend, Sarah Keindal (an athletic therapist at the University of Ottawa), have set up a home in Riverside South and now have an eight-week-old golden retriever, Sullivan.
“We’re housebreaking him right now,” Gillanders says. “That will keep me busy this season.”
When he can, Gillanders relaxes by plugging in his guitar to play. LOUDLY. Mostly rock. He loves Pearl Jam and the Tragically Hip.
Gillanders has been playing guitar since he was eight or nine.
Football is like life – it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority.
– Vince Lombardi