Antler Up: Edmonton’s CFL Team Goes with ‘Elks’ for New Nickname

After officially retiring their old nickname and nearly a year of public consultation, the Edmonton Football Team has announced they’re going with “Elks” as the new team nickname.

The club made the announcement at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton on Tuesday, June 1. A giant tarp in the middle of the football field was rolled back to reveal the new name and logo.

“This is not the beginning. This is a new chapter in a story that began 72 years ago officially, and over 100 years ago unofficially,” said club president Chris Presson during the announcement live stream on YouTube. “Thousands have carried our torch since then, and we light it again. We build on that legacy — new name, same colours, for Edmontonians.”

Tuesday’s announcement included few details about the team’s uniforms, but the live stream video did show a player wearing a yellow helmet with green antlers.

Merchandise featuring the new logo and wordmark leaked on the team’s mobile app about half an hour before the announcement was made.

As the NFL’s Washington Football Team faced pressure to retire its nickname in July 2020, Edmonton initially announced it would keep its nickname, saying there was “no consensus” for a change after meeting with Inuit and community leaders.

However, a couple of weeks later, the club changed tack. The board of directors issued a statement on July 21 saying they were discontinuing the nickname and launching an extensive public engagement process to find a new one.

“Recent findings demonstrate that views regarding the team name are shifting. While many fans are deeply committed to keeping the name, others are increasingly uncomfortable with the moniker,” the statement said. “The long-term viability of the Club requires everyone to get behind this change and continue to support the team, especially during these challenging financial times. We are grateful for the backing of our partners and know that we can count on them to support us in making this difficult decision and helping us through the change.”

In February 2021, the club announced it had narrowed the field down to seven finalists: Elk, Evergreens, Evergolds, Eclipse, Elkhounds, Eagles, and Elements. The stated goal at the time was to find a new name that began with the letter E so the team could continue to use its double-E logo and retain its green-and-gold colour scheme.

According to the club’s press release, “Elk” was the overwhelming favourite among fans, players and coaches. However, they added an S after “lengthy debate [and] consultation with linguistics experts from the Oxford Dictionary and the [University of Alberta]’s linguistics department”.

The Edmonton CFL franchise dates back to 1895, when the team first began playing in the Alberta Rugby Football Union. The team was actually named the Elks for one season in 1922, during which they represented the Western Canadian Rugby Football Union in the 10th Grey Cup, losing 13-1 to the Queen’s University Golden Gaels. That team folded before the 1925 season, but was revived in 1949.

Photos courtesy @EdmFootballTeam / Twitter