Fans of the Edmonton Football Team thought they had all the candidates for the team’s new name presented to them, but it appears a new wrinkle has emerged in the ongoing name change saga.
According to information obtained by Greg McCulloch of Piffles Podcast, Edmonton quietly filed trademarks for two more potential monikers on March 1: Edmonton Energy and Edmonton Elks.
Neither name was one of the seven finalists announced by the team and voted on by fans in early February.
The Edmonton Football Team formally began changing its name late last summer, bowing to immense pressure from sponsors and the public following years of controversy. The team received 2,047 formal name submissions during an open call in November before narrowing to seven choices: Elk, Eagles, Elkhounds, Evergreens, Evergolds, Eclipse, and Elements.
Nearly 40,000 fans participated in ranking those choices for the name expected to be revealed in mid-April, but it appears the green and gold may not be satisfied with the initial response.
Elk had been the betting favourite due to its historical use by previous Edmonton franchises and its local relevance, but even proponents of the name have debated the superior spelling: Elk or Elks. Edmonton backed the singular in their initial proposal but both are now on the table.
Energy was among the most popular names to emerge from the team’s open call submission, with many drawing associations to Alberta’s all-important oil and gas sector. Some fans were surprised it was not among the potential candidates in February and it appears to have made a late resurgence.
The change from the franchise’s previous nickname of ‘Eskimos’ was prompted by more than a decade of calls from Inuit leaders to change the moniker, which is now considered derogatory due to its ties to centuries of colonial violence.
Polls show the majority of CFL fans, overwhelmingly men over the age of 55, opposed the name change in the first place, though few of those vocal opponents have any ties to Canada’s Inuit population.
Popular radio host Jason Gregor recently criticized the protracted name change process as ‘minor league’, but the EE Football Team’s decision has not gotten any easier. Without a firm deadline to put pressure on the franchise, all options will be considered.