The Edmonton CFL franchise has officially announced its new team name, introducing the Elks.
The club made the announcement via livestream Tuesday.
Edmonton dropped its longtime name, Eskimos, last year following a similar decision by the NFL’s Washington Football Team amid pressure on franchises to eliminate racist or stereotypical names.
It had been called the Edmonton Football Team up until today’s announcement but its logo continued to feature two Es.
Elks was one of seven potential name changes the Edmonton Football Team provided on its shortlist. The others included: Evergreens, Evergolds, Eclipse, Elkhounds, Eagles and Elements.
When the Edmonton Football Team announced last year it was discontinuing the Eskimos name, president Chris Presson said it was the franchise’s hope to keep its double-E logo and green and gold colours.
The decision came following a review by the franchise after it twice opted to maintain its team name.
New Name. Same Game.
Let’s play some football. #ElksCharge pic.twitter.com/RhtwzcAmhv
— Edmonton Elks (@elks) June 1, 2021
The Eskimos moniker has been tied to sports teams in Edmonton since the 19th century, but critics say the name is derogatory and a colonial-era term for Inuit.
On July 8, the club promised to speed up the review of its name and provide an update by month’s end. In that statement, the Edmonton franchise noted “a lot has happened” since the decision in February.
One of the team’s sponsors, national car-and-home insurance provider Belairdirect, had announced it was rethinking its relationship with the team because of the name. Others added they would welcome a review of the name.
This all happened as NFL’s Washington team had said it would undergo a thorough review of its name.
A similar announcement was made by Major League Baseball’s Cleveland team, which is switching its name next year.
The Chicago Blackhawks were one professional franchise, however, that came forward opting not to change its name, pointing out the moniker represents a person important to the city’s history.
“The Chicago Blackhawks name and logo symbolize an important and historic person, Black Hawk of Illinois’ Sac and Fox Nation, whose leadership and life has inspired generations of Native Americans, veterans, and the public,” the team told Scott Powers with The Athletic last summer.
Locally, Saanich’s Junior B hockey club also announced they would undergo a name change amid the ongoing international conversation surrounding racism.
The Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League team, formerly known as the Saanich Braves, has officially become the Saanich Predators, boasting a new logo and new team colours.
With files to the Canadian Press.