Last year, we had the CFL return to action after a year off, and we were all grateful for the league to return. But we also got to see the overdue return of football as well at the collegiate level, and that included a return to action in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) conference. The RSEQ football conference has five teams, each with unique stadiums and without further adieu, it’s time to rank them.
5. Concordia Stadium, Concordia Stingers
A 4,000 seater stadium, the first thing to note is how good the Stingers colours look in the end zones. Added is the large Stingers logo in the middle of the field and the playing surface here is very vibrant and looks fantastic. The stadium has just one stand which is very close to the playing surface, giving you a closer feel to the experience on game day. It is a shame however that the seats are red rather than the burgundy and yellow that dons the playing surface. But it’s hard to be too critical of this stadium. Think of it as fifth-best, rather than the lowest-ranked.
Related: Ranking the CFL Stadiums
4. CEPSUM Stadium, Montreal Carabins
The first of the two conference juggernauts to make an appearance. The Carabins have won four Dunsmore Cups in seven seasons (not including the cancelled 2020 season), and the 2014 Vanier Cup champions call the 5,100 capacity CELSUM stadium their home. Blue end zones visually dominate the turf, and the two stands are unique in their look. The smaller stand is built below trees that can provide natural shading and some protection from elements, the other is much more dominant and while it is impressive, I would’ve preferred to see more use of blue when it came to the stand’s colour schemes. The stadium has no running track, giving it a more intimate feel as well.
3. Université de Sherbrooke Stadium, Sherbrooke Vert et Or
I dislike running tracks when it comes to football stadiums, but given that this collegiate sports, I’m more than happy to make an exception, and that is especially true with Sherbrooke Stadium. It’s hard not to immediately fall in love with that green running track that beautifully matches the colours of the stands and the uniforms of the Vert et Or on game day. The stadium offers three stands giving fans more choice of where they want to view the match from, and the incorporation of the team logo on one of the stands is a nice touch. There’s even a video screen at the other end. I would like to have seen the end zone fully be painted in Vert et Or colours rather than the couple yards of natural grass that you find at the front end. But this is overall a great-looking stadium and a fantastic example of how to incorporate a running track into a stadium.
2. Telus Stadium, Laval Rouge et Or
Host of seven of the last twelve Vanier Cup games and the ten-time Vanier Cup winners, Telus Stadium is one of the best-known U Sports stadiums in Canada that doesn’t also host a CFL team. Telus Stadium is the first on the list to have a two-tier stand, with the lower tier stretching the length of the sideline and even curving towards all the way along to the opposite end zone, making it one of the most unique and impressive stands in the RSEQ. The upper tier has red seats and the words Laval written across it in gold, perfectly tying in with the Rouge et Or uniform. While it doesn’t curve across the end zone, the other stand also covers the entire sideline and is underneath a roof that can provide element protection. Add in coloured end zones like we’ve seen before with Concordia and Montreal, and this is a great stadium for the Rouge et Or.
1. Molson Stadium, McGill Redbirds
Molson didn’t rank highly on my list of CFL stadiums, but it wasn’t without its charms at the time and it’s undeniably a beautiful U Sports stadium. Home of the RedBirds since 1915, thirty-two years before the Alouettes ever played a down in the stadium, its large 23,420 capacity makes it a very intimidating and impressive venue to play in, considering that the second largest, Telus Stadium has 12,817 seats (it can expand through with standing room). The way the stadium incorporates McGill university buildings into its design is very impressive and the stands wrap around the stadium effortlessly to make it the most well-connected stadium in terms of seating. The stadium opened over a century ago, and despite renovation maintaining a classic look of stadium architecture at the time, it’s no wonder the Als left Olympic Stadium to play their games at the stadium McGill Redbirds call home. They may not have the most Vanier Cup in the conference, but the Redbirds can boast an excellent U Sports stadium.