Stockholm Mean Machines sign Canada’s top player, QB Chris Merchant

Canadians may be known as a friendly bunch abroad, but star quarterback Chris Merchant is about to get a little mean.

The reigning Hec Crighton winner as Canada’s top collegiate player has signed with the Stockholm Mean Machines of the Swedish Superserien. Merchant is currently playing for the Las Rozas Black Demons of Spain and will travel to Sweden following the conclusion of the LNFA season.

“I know the program has a long history of success and has high expectations to win every year as shown by their 11 national championships. That is exactly the type of program I want to be a part of because I believe I can help make this years’ expectations a reality,” Merchant said of his decision.

“I also know the program has been built with a great group of players and when they bring in import players, they hope that we can help develop their youth for the future success of the program as well. As someone who loves to coach and share my knowledge of the game, the Mean Machines give me the perfect balance of everything I am looking for.”

Merchant currently has another championship on his mind. After snapping the four-time reigning Spanish champion Badalona Dracs 47-game winning streak in his European debut, the Canadian has the Black Demons sitting 7-0 with one week remaining in the Spanish season. A rematch with the Dracs is next on the schedule before the two round playoffs, all of which can be viewed on AFI.TV.

As the country’s only undefeated team, the Black Demons are heavily favored to bring home the national championship, something Merchant is no stranger to.

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

Merchant helped the Mustangs capture the Vanier Cup as Canada’s collegiate champions 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.

After going undrafted in the 2019 CFL Draft, Merchant attended training camp with the Montreal Alouettes but failed to make the roster. He returned to Western for a fifth year in 2019, capping his career by winning the Hec Crighton Trophy, given annually to the top player in U Sports football.

Merchant is now climbing his way through the European ranks hoping for another CFL shot. After taking Spain by storm, Sweden is next on the list.

J.C. Abbott is a student at the University of British Columbia and amateur football coach in Vancouver, Canada. A CFL writer for 3DownNation, his love of travel has been the root of his fascination with the global game.