“It is what it is”: Edmonton football fans mixed over Eskimos to Elks name change

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The name Edmonton Eskimos has been part of the heritage of City of Champions since 1908.

As recently as February 14, 2020, the Edmonton CFL club insisted that after extensive consultation with Inuit communities they would not be changing their name. Just over a year later the name Eskimos was no more, Edmonton would be cheering for the Elks moving forward.

Woke politics were once again interjecting into the world of sports.

Putting aside for moment the fact that Elk — not Elks — is the plural of Elk, the universal response to the change was not overwhelmingly positive.

The name, however, was not completely without historical significance. For one year in 1922 the team was called the Edmonton Elks, but compared to the legacy of the Eskimos’ name, “Elks” has a lot of catching up to do.

We headed to Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton to check out their tailgating traditions and to ask diehard Edmonton fans what they think about the new name.

Surprisingly, even in the NDP bastion of Edmonton, most people weren’t exactly thrilled about the name change or the woke politics that brought it about.

Ultimately, people were happy to have football back after COVID restrictions resulted in a cancelled season last year, and even an unwanted name change couldn’t be a damper on the CFL festivities.

We made the trip to Edmonton from Calgary to cover this football game and we often find ourselves zig-zagging across the province to bring you the other side of the story.

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