Edmonton president Chris Presson: new name ’80 to 85 percent’ ready, latest possible reveal date August 1

Photo courtesy: Edmonton Football Team

A new name for the Edmonton Football Team is on the horizon, but a target date for the unveiling may be more difficult to pin down than a confirmed start date for the CFL season.

Many anticipated the team’s annual general meeting would be a natural launch point for a re-branding, but the team chose not to sully the unveiling with news of $7.1 million in net losses last year. Instead an announcement will come when the organization is ready, whenever that may be.

“It’s been a long and arduous process that not everybody will understand. It takes a lot to do this and when you have a history of a hundred plus years, to go in and change a name and then change your brand along with that all while keeping your former double ‘E’, that’s a tall task,” team president Chris Presson said on 630 CHED in Edmonton.

“I just thank everyone for their patience as well and certainly it is coming. We’ll have it before August 5th, but we have a process in place and we’re sticking to it.”

That process may seem unnecessarily drawn out to most fans, but Presson says it very near its conclusion.

“I will tell you this, we’re probably about 80 to 85 percent of the way toward being able to announce our new name and present new logos,” he acknowledged.

Edmonton released a statement on July 3, 2020 claiming they would not change their name, though a report two weeks later indicated that an internal decision had been made to discontinue the use of the word ‘Eskimo.’ On July 21, the team announced that it would be changing its name.

“Our team has a long history of winning – both on and off the field – and we will continue to do so going forward,” Janice Agrios, chair of the board of directors, said in a statement at the time.

“We feel it is important to make this change in response to the findings of our recent engagement and research. Going forward, we want the focus to be on the work we do in the community and our team’s excellence on the field as the CFL’s most successful franchise.”

Edmonton solicited names from the public in November 2020 and received 14,833 submissions with 2,047 unique name entries from all over the world. It resulted in a list of ten top name submissions from fans, which were unveiled the following month.

The final seven options were released in February 2021, including Elk, Evergreens, Evergolds, Eclipse, Elkhounds, Eagles, and Elements.

Many have tried to pry a definitive timeline for the name change — originally slated for mid-April — out of Presson, but the president of the EE is keeping that information tight to the vest.

“You wouldn’t be successful,” Presson chuckled when asked if he would be open to divulging more specifics.

“I’m certainly hopeful that it will be sooner rather than later, but I reserve the right for it to be as late as August 1. I think we’ll have something in relative terms, relatively soon.”

The league office has targeted August 5 as a potential kick-off date for the planned 14-game regular season with the Grey Cup slated for December 12. Presson has stated the three-down league is making progress towards a finalized schedule and the team name must be determined by then.

After a challenging year, the eventually rebranding will be a major event to reward fans for their persistence.

“I would just say thank you for sticking with us. It’s clear we cannot do without you and we need you now more than ever,” Presson admitted.

“When you’re coming out of the situation that we are, you see the loss that we sustained and we made tough decisions. Those tough decisions were made for you and with you in mind and for the future. We’re just looking forward to getting back in the stands and seeing everyone once again.”