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2007 – Exhibition Year

February 2007, the Royal Oak Pub on the canal would play host to the first official meeting of the Ottawa Swans.  Newly registered members would turn out to throw ideas around in what would be one of the most important dates in the clubs history.

This meeting would see Joel Dawes, Jeff Bashford, Steve Spurrell, Kent Baker and Evan Stanks become the ‘Founding Fathers’ of the club and begin talks with the Royal Oak regarding sponsorship.  By March the club would sign the Oak as a non-financial sponsor of the club, offering discounts to all the clubs players and members, in this same month the club would also sign Richard Keane as the Swans coach for the 2007 year.

The Royal became the social heart of the club throughout the year giving the players and supporters a place to quench their thirst after taining and games.

Richard Keane would call the first training session in April of 2007, all players having to fork out a few dollars to help rent the school gym facilities needed, approx. 12 players would turn up to this first session and the Swans would start to take shape on the field.

The club, with no official board, began to grow and so did the need for structure.  Alp Oran, Joel Dawes, Rich Kean, Ian Verhayden, Steve Spurrell and Jay Thompson would for the Swans first committee and begin to outline the clubs goals and strategy going forward.  Development and entry into the OAFL where set as the primary goals for club with the hope of achieving the later within 2 years.

 The Swans with the support of Bruce Parker and the Central Blues Australian Football Club, Aaron Fanning and the Guelph Gargoyles Australian Football Club,  Mark Block and the Canadian National Team and the Ottawa Gaels Gaelic Football Club where able to schedule 3 major exhibition games for the club in 2007 (While entry into the OAFL was possible for the Swans in the 2007 season with the green light given for the club to join, the Swans decided against an early entry to better setup and organize their off field structure and playing group)

The Blues, Gargoyles and Team Canada would all travel to Ottawa, the results being a win over the Blues and losses to both the Gargoyles and Team Canada.  Seeing an opportunity to market Ottawa’s Canada Day celebrations to the clubs advantage, the Swans in conjunction with the Central Blues launched the Canada Day Cup, with the hope of the two clubs playing the annual event as  part of the OAFL fixture in the future.  For more details on the Canda Day Cup CLICK HERE.

All games where played on a smaller field, supplied by the Ottawa Gaels.  In October the final siren sounded for the club against Guelph and the Swans had gone from strength to strength both on and off the field.  All heads turned to building the club further for 2008 and beyond.

Negotiations with the Royal Oak Pubs failed towards the end of the 2007 year, the Swans unable to broker a favourable deal for the club with both parties agreeing to end their 1 and a half year relationship.  The Swans quickly turned their attention to a larger and more suitable venue for the 2007 AFL Grand Final party.  While the Royal Oak would no longer be a part of the Swans suite of sponsors, the Grand Final party and subsquent chance meeting with Georgetown Sports Pub owner Dan George, would turn out to be a match made in footy heaven.

The clubs off field achievements would improve significantly in November 2007 signing the Georgetown Sports Pub, Bushtukah Outdoor Specialists, PaceSetter Travel, Premier Cycles and Beaus Brewery as financial sponsors of the club for the 2008 season.  With a growing suite of sponsors and a strong player turnout the decision was made to make a move into the OAFL.  In December 2007 the Ottawa Swans would officially become part of the Ontario Australian Football League for the following years season.

The off field success would become even stronger when in early December the club would recruit Ray Kaduck as President, Ray, being the first non-playing member of the committee would bring to the board the experience the Swans needed in running a non for profit organization.  Ray also brought to the club a passion for the game not seen in too many Canadians and the imagination and drive to take the club beyond the restrictions most of the OAFL clubs had been facing over the last 20 years.

The club was looking good for an assault on the OAFL in 2008

BACK ROW (L to R): David Greb, Alp Oran, Jake Plunkett-Latimer, Tim Crombie, Evan Stanks, Joel Dawes, Rowan Brown, Jeff Bashford, Ian Verhayden, Ollie, NA

FRONT ROW (L to R): Jason Jones, Greg O’Hayon, Jean-Francois Chapman, Dermott Guianne, Max Ozcelic, Steve Spurrell, Ben Jones, Corey Bowen, Rich Keane

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