Canadian QB Chris Merchant signs with Las Rozas Black Demons of Spain

Photo courtesy: Mustangs Athletics

A Canadian quarterback and former Hec Crighton Trophy winner is heading overseas in 2021.

Chris Merchant has signed with the Las Rozas Black Demons of the Liga Nacional de Fútbol Americano (LNFA) in Spain, per sources.

The Western University product had signed with the Wasa Royals of Vaahteraliiga in Finland back in February but the league cancelled its season due to COVID-19.

The LNFA season doesn’t begin until January 2021, which means the season could proceed with limited health restrictions. Merchant would also be free to pursue other opportunities when the campaign finishes in May.

The quarterback originally committed to the University of Buffalo before transferring to Western in 2016. He quickly became the club’s starter, leading the team to an 8-2 record and a berth in the Yates Cup.

Merchant helped the Mustangs capture the Vanier Cup the following season, ending Western’s 23-year championship drought. The Calgary native was named the game’s Most Valuable Player after recording 276 passing yards, 89 rushing yards and three touchdowns against Laval.

Western returned to the Vanier Cup under Merchant’s leadership in 2018, but lost to the Rouge et Or by a score of 34-20. The quarterback set new career-highs in passing yardage (3,279) and touchdowns (23) that season.

Merchant capped his career at Western in 2019 by winning the Hec Crighton Trophy, given annually to the top player in U Sports football. It marked the first time a member of the Mustangs earned the award since Andy Fantuz in 2005.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.