Beware of the Buzz

Concordia Stingers Will Be On Full Display at Upcoming Regional and National CFL Draft Combines

  • Slotback Kris Bastien will be at the national combine in Toronto with four other Stingers, including teammate Max Caron, who is currently ranked the 10th best draft-eligible prospect by the CFL scouting Bureau. photo Erin Sparks

  • Slotback Michael Harrington will be among eight former Stingers competing at the upcoming CFL regional combine at the Stinger dome. photo Dylan Maloney

A swarm of Concordia Stingers is headed to this year’s regional and national Canadian Football League combines—but it’ll be every bee for himself once they arrive.

“No disrespect to any of my teammates who are preparing,” said Stingers slotback Michael Harrington, “but at the moment, they’re my competition.”

Harrington is one of eight Concordia football players invited to the CFL’s Montreal regional combine—or evaluation camp—taking place on March 19 at the Stinger dome. Other combines will be held in Edmonton on March 17 and Toronto on March 20.

Those who are draft eligible and perform well enough in the regional combines’ physical drills and evaluations, will get invited to the national CFL combine in Toronto from March 21-March 23.

The national combine is a player showcase wherein prospects from across the country will perform physical and mental tests before on-looking CFL team scouts in hopes of improving their stock in the upcoming league draft on May 13.

Four Concordia players have already been invited to this year’s national combine, including linebacker Max Caron, the 10th-best prospect according to the CFL Scouting Bureau. Caron isn’t too preoccupied with his pre-draft ranking, however.

“It’s very exciting to be ranked so high, but I’ve made a conscious effort to forget about that,” Caron said.

“I had plenty of success in the CIS, but I always told myself that I never wanted to be complacent and rest on what I have done.

“Even with where I am now, the CFL is a big step up from the CIS,” Caron continued.

“Regardless of my ranking, it is really important to stay driven and get better at each and every facet of my game, physically and mentally.”

Caron is set to compete alongside fellow Stingers wide receiver Kristopher Bastien, quarterback Reid Quest and defensive lineman Quinn Smith at the national combine, along with other Stingers that may receive invitations following Wednesday’s regional camp.

“I’m excited to go against my teammates,” said Caron.

“We always have a high competition level during practices, so if we face off against each other in drills I’m sure it will be the same.”

Helping Concordia get the nod to host this year’s Montreal regional combine was former Stingers football head coach Gerry McGrath, who has stayed in contact with various personnel from the CFL. McGrath is staying on with the team as a consultant after retiring from coaching following a winless 2013 season.

“Those kind of relations are one of the reasons why we wanted to keep him around,” said Patrick Boivin, Concordia’s director of recreation and athletics.

“I had plenty of success in the CIS, but I always told myself that I never wanted to be complacent and rest on what I have done.”
—Concordia linebacker, Max Caron

For some Concordia players, like linebacker Travis Bent, having a regional combine close to home is advantageous in more ways than one.

“As a student, resources are slim,” said Bent.

“I wasn’t looking forward to forking out the money to have to travel to, say, Quebec City, like where it was last year.

“The fact that it’s at [Concordia], I have the advantage of using a lot of resources that are here such as staff, and therapy before the morning of the combine,” Bent added.

“Being adjusted to the surfaces for those specific drills is already a big thing.”

Joining Harrington and Bent at this year’s Montreal regional combine are defensive back Nathan Taylor, linebackers Alexandre Lemire and Eric Noivo, defensive linemen Shaquille Armstrong and Jonathan Langma, and offensive lineman Frederik Landry-Simard.

Three players were extended invitations to the national combine after impressive performances at last year’s two regional combines.

Among them was former Stingers defensive back Kristopher Robertson, who recorded the best results in the vertical jump and broad jump as well as the fastest time in the 40-yard dash at the Quebec City combine.

Bent has spent time training with Robertson, in preparation for the regional combine.

“He’s been walking me through the process and giving me pointers here and there, and letting me know what to expect.” said Bent.

Robertson was eventually drafted 11th overall in the 2013 CFL draft by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, but did not play at all in 2013 after suffering a torn ACL two months before the start of the season.

Despite spending last season recovering from his injury, Robertson still has a chance to establish himself in the CFL as a product of the Concordia Stingers football program, and the newest crop of Stingers might not be too far behind.

“I think this program has a history of churning out some successful players who have gone on to have successful careers,” said Boivin.

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