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Concordia Flag Football Tournament takes over Stingers Dome - FlagSpin

Concordia Flag Football Tournament takes over Stingers Dome

Third annual Concordia Flag Football Tournament wraps up 2024 season

Concordia flag football team lines up pre-snap. Photo Alice Martin

The dull, lifeless aesthetic of the Concordia Stingers dome was illuminated with vibrant spirit on April 7, as the Concordia Flag Football team held their third annual Concordia University Flag Football Tournament.

The dull, lifeless aesthetic of the Concordia Stingers dome was illuminated with vibrant spirit on April 7, as the Concordia Flag Football team held their third annual Concordia University Flag Football Tournament.

Twenty teams from high schools, CEGEPs and universities across Quebec entered through rotating dome doors to participate in this year’s tournament. The event was organized by the Concordia team, who set up multiple booths of sponsors, such as Invictus Gloves, and Grit Protein water, to sell merchandise. The tournament is a main source of financing for the team given their non-varsity status. 

“It means the world to us,” said Concordia receiver and organizer Amélie Brisebois Bentler. “We’re players paying for this, all of this from our pockets. We’re students, all full-time students […] if we can get sponsors to help us out it goes a really long way.”

As it currently stands, flag football does not have a league inside the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ), according to Concordia head coach Alexis Labonté. The RSEQ initially gave a three-year trial period in 2021 but has extended it to four years, meaning that the flag teams will have to wait one more season before varsity status, and proper funding will be met.

“It’s a big year next year,” said Labonté. “It’s crazy because we are still recruiting as if we are a Stinger team, but we’re not. The girls have a mindset that the project’s going to work, it’s going to be a varsity team.” 

Members of the team hold out hope for a league to be formed soon. In the meantime, the growth of the sport itself is marvellous.

“When I graduated CEGEP, I was unsure if I would continue or if my journey was over. Now, I’m in my third year here,” said Concordia receiver Amy Deuel. Deuel added that with the addition of flag football set to debut at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, the sport has received a surge in participation. “It brings a lot of energy. More girls want to play. Every year we have more and more girls, so it’s super fun.” 

The tournament also signified the last round of games for the Concordia team for the season. It was also a swan song for members leaving the team. 

“It’s a rollercoaster,” said Deule. “[Amélie] has a big part in the tournament, contacting all the teams, making the schedule. This year, she’s given a lot of roles to all of us because she’s sadly leaving.”   

“It’s bittersweet. I think I’ve done my time, in a sense,” said Brisebois Bentler. “It’s a hard piece to swallow, to be leaving that in people’s hands.”

Amélie Brisebois Bentler sheds off a defender. Photo Alice Martin

Brisebois-Bentler touched upon the growth of the team since its inception back in 2021. “I was there from building the team from the ground up, so it’s really like leaving my little baby to someone else, but it’s going to be in good hands for sure.” 

By the end of the day, the three tournament winners were crowned. For the high school division, the Citadins won over the Voltigeurs 14-0; The collegiate division, which was divided into two winners, the Collège Montmorency Nomades and the Cégep Édouard-Montpetit Lynx won their championships 14-3 and 7-6 respectively; The university winners were the Citadins, hailing from the Université du Québec à Montreal, winning over the Université de Montreal Les Bleues 20-12.    

The Concordia team themselves found success in the 2023-24 campaign. The team finished with a record of 11-1, captured the provincial championship for the first time in the team’s history, and won the Université Laval tournament in February. 

The garnered success helps with recruitment, according to Labonté. The majority of flag programs at the collegiate level stem from French CEGEPs, according to Labonté. Given that Concordia is an English university, winning makes it an attractive destination for athletes looking to make the jump to the next level.

“It’s kind of a loop, eh? If you do well, if you promote yourself well, if you show that you’re a good team, well, people will be engaged to come to your team,” Labonté said.

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Travis Burnett

Travis Burnett

A pioneer in the flag football community, Travis helped co-found the Flag Football World Championship Tour, FlagSpin and USA Flag. Featuring 15+ years of content creation for the sport of flag football, creating and managing the largest flag football tournaments on the planet, coaching experience at the youth and adult level as well as an active player with National and World Championship level experience.

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