Full disclosure: I was ready to write this article no matter what Edmonton’s new name was.
I am an unapologetic Stampeders fan, so nothing the Edmonton Football Club chose to do would have made me do anything beyond hating a new word in the dictionary.
That said, let me tell you why the Elks name and logo are misses for me.
Why, oh why, is this plural? Adding the S makes it a bit of a joke to Canadians who never say, “Look at those elks over there!”
Multiple elk are still elk. I am aware the dictionary recognizes elks as an acceptable plural of the word ‘elk,’ but anyone that uses it that way gets looked at like a rube by their more learned friends.
Elk are hunted for sport
Are they majestic creatures of the forest? No question. They are also regularly killed, mounted and stuffed as trophies. Elk don’t win trophies, they become them, once defeated.
The logo appears to be an elk with its head turned as if spooked by a noise in the forest. It isn’t looking forward to the things ahead. It’s alert to the possibility of its impending doom.
Elk are easily fooled by just a little bit of subterfuge or camouflage in the wild. Not a great omen for the defence when it comes to trick plays!
There is zero doubt in my mind that stores in Edmonton will be selling antlers to wear at games. This sounds like a great idea until you are seated behind a tall fan showing his pride by blocking your view of the play. At least a watermelon, while stupid, is flat.
No ring to it
The play-by-play won’t be as sharp. “Touchdown Elks!” sounds way worse to my broadcasting ear than “Touchdown Elk!”
‘Elks’ is offensive to my ear with the ‘K’ plosive made plural. I recognize that the Ottawa Redblacks already do it — and it’s clunky there too — but the extra syllable goes a long way to fixing that.
Elk fight each other for dominance
They are not a pack animal, they are led by a leader who constantly has to defend that position from internal challenges. Locker room disharmony can kill a team, and the idea of challenging for alpha status in a sport full of alpha men could become more attractive by emulating the animal on your chest.
Soft to the touch
Until around Labour Day, elk antlers are covered in velvet. Is there anything softer than velvet? Soft isn’t exactly the word fans want to associate with their team.
If you get too close to an elk in the wild, it will retreat and grind its teeth as a warning before it charges you. Football is based on close contact and an unwillingness to retreat.
I secretly love the helmets
Those helmets look great. I have to admit it, and that’s why I hate it.
At least with ‘Energy’ or ‘Evergolds’ or any of the other proposed names, the helmets would have also looked terrible. These don’t at all.
All this isn’t to say the name shouldn’t have been changed. It needed to be, and the club made the right move renaming itself to align with the values the world at large is embracing.
Given Canada’s shameful treatment of Indigenous people, including the recent finding of a mass grave in Kamloops, I applaud Edmonton’s decision to change its name.