The Edmonton Elks are a professional Canadian football team based in Edmonton, Alberta. The club competes in the Canadian Football League (CFL) as a member of the league's West Division and plays their home games at Commonwealth Stadium. The Elks were founded in 1949 as the Edmonton Eskimos and have won the Grey Cup championship fourteen times (including a three-peat between 1954 and 1956 and an unmatched five consecutive wins between 1978 and 1982), most recently in 2015 and the most of any CFL club based in Western Canada. The team has a rivalry with the Calgary Stampeders and is one of the three community-owned teams in the CFL. The team discontinued using the Eskimos name in 2020, with the new name Elks formally announced on June 1, 2021.
|Based in||Edmonton, Alberta, Canada|
|Home field||Commonwealth Stadium|
|Head coach||Chris Jones|
|General manager||Chris Jones|
|Owner(s)||EE Football Team, Inc.|
("Community" (shareholder) owned)
|League||Canadian Football League|
|Colours||Green, gold, white|
|Mascot(s)||Punter and Spike|
|Grey Cup wins||14 (1954, 1955, 1956, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1987, 1993, 2003, 2005, 2015)
The Edmonton Elks are one of three "community owned" teams in the CFL (owned by local shareholders).
Edmonton Elks Football Team, Inc., is governed by a ten-member board of directors. The board consists of a chairman, treasurer, secretary, and seven directors. As of 2017[update], the board of directors included chairman Brad Sparrow, treasurer Janice Agrios, secretary Murray Scambler, directors Douglas Cox, Rob Heron, Ian Murray, Harold Roozen, Marshall Sadd, Lindsay Dodd and Tom Richards. The club's president and CEO was Chris Presson until he was fired on November 22, 2021.
Football in Edmonton 1895–1939 edit
The Edmonton Rugby Foot-ball Club, unaffiliated with the current team, was an early Canadian football-rugby union team based in Edmonton. The team played its first organized games with the formation of the Alberta Rugby Football League in 1895. In 1908 the name Esquimaux was adopted. In 1910 the club was officially named the Edmonton Eskimos and was briefly called the Edmonton Elks during 1922. (The city was represented by the Edmonton Civics in 1914 and the Edmonton Canucks in 1919.) After appearing in and losing the 9th Grey Cup and 10th Grey Cup games (being the first western teams to play for the Cup) the team folded in 1925, but returned for two seasons beginning 1928, and then folded again. It was succeeded by the Edmonton Boosters, who played for three more seasons, and the Edmonton Hi-Grads in 1936 (a team of high school graduate all stars.) Elite-level football returned to Edmonton in 1938 with a team once again called the Eskimos, this time in the Western Interprovincial Football Union (WIFU). This team ceased operating after only two seasons because of the Second World War.
Team history edit
The current incarnation of the team began in the 1949 WIFU season as the Edmonton Eskimos under head coach Annis Stukus, for whom the CFL's annual coach of the year award is named. The team played home games at Clarke Stadium and quickly saw success under quarterback Jackie Parker and running back Johnny Bright, winning the Grey Cup three years in a row from 1954 to 1956. The team did not win the Grey Cup again until 1975, the longest drought in team history. The team moved to Commonwealth Stadium in 1978.
The team won five consecutive Grey Cups (1978–82), led by superstar quarterbacks Warren Moon and Tom Wilkinson and head coach Hugh Campbell. After a brief absence, Campbell returned to the team in 1986 and worked for Edmonton in an administrative capacity until his retirement in 2006. This five-year dynasty, followed by the dominance of the city's NHL team the Edmonton Oilers, led the city to be nicknamed the "City of Champions" in the 1980s. Edmonton made it to nine Grey Cups in a ten-year span from 1973 to 1982.
In the 1980s and 90s the team's marquee player was Gizmo Williams who still holds many CFL records in punt and kickoff returns and was a key part in Grey Cup victories in 1987 and 1993 under head coach Ron Lancaster. During this period the team was also known for its stellar defensive line, with future Canadian Football Hall of Famers like Danny Kepley and Danny Bass winning Defensive Player of the Year Awards and Willie Pless winning the trophy a record five times.
After winning the Grey Cup in both 2003 and 2005, under quarterback Ricky Ray, who is Edmonton's all-time leader in passing yards, the team missed the playoffs the following year, for the first time in 34 years, a North American professional sport record. This led to a ten-year Grey Cup drought. After a gap of ten years, Edmonton won the Grey Cup again in 2015, under the leadership of quarterback Mike Reilly, their most recent championship.
The term Eskimo is an offensive term placed on Inuit. In 2020 pressure mounted for Eskimo be removed from the team by sponsors Belairdirect and Boston Pizza, as well as potential sponsor, Sports Interaction, a self referred to "First Nations–owned" betting company. The team officially dropped all use of the word "Eskimo" from the team on July 21, 2020. The team temporarily rebranded as the "Edmonton Football Team" or, secondarily, the "EE Football Team", confirming their plan was to rebrand with a nickname starting with "E" to continue the use of at least some of their branding, most notably the interlocked double-E logo. This move was supported by multiple Indigenous groups, including the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, a group representing over 60,000 Inuit across Canada. On June 1, 2021, it was formally announced that the new Edmonton team name would be the Edmonton Elks, a name used by the Edmonton football club of 1922.
Franchise great Warren Moon, who led Edmonton to a record five straight Grey Cups between 1978 and 1982 stated, "The name Eskimos, to me, just means pride and it means winning with that organization". However, he stated that he was ultimately supportive of the move because some people might be offended by the name. Saying, “If this is something that is insensitive to another group of people, that is something I can understand being a minority myself.”
The team colours, green and gold, have remained essentially the same over the years with only minor modifications to the uniform or logo until 2021, when the EE logo was designated as a secondary logo, and introduced a new logo of a stylized image of an elk and the Elks helmet logo was changed to antlers. After keeping the elk-antler helmet for the 2021 season, the team reintroduced the EE logo to their helmets (albeit with it not being enclosed in an oval) in the 2022 offseason, acknowledging fan favourability towards the logo.
Team records and achievements edit
The Elks have won the Grey Cup more than any other team except the Toronto Argonauts, including more championships than any other since the CFL was formed in the 1950s. This places the Elks second overall to the Toronto Argonauts, who have won 18 Grey Cups (eight since the CFL was formed in 1954). The team also made playoffs for 37 consecutive years from 1972 to 2005, a North American professional sport record. Since re-entering the WIFU in 1949, Edmonton is the only team to have two dynasties of three or more successive Grey Cups: 1954–1956 and 1978–1982. The Elks also had the dubious record of most consecutive home losses, a record in major league sports, set when they passed 21 on July 29, 2023. This streak ended at 22, with the first home win under the Elks name coming August 27, 2023. This record was previously held by the 1953 St. Louis Browns.
The Elks have also led the CFL in attendance for many years. As of August 2016, Edmonton had the highest average attendance in the league 27 times since moving to Commonwealth Stadium in 1978.
Team alumni have figured prominently in Alberta political life: past players include two former provincial premiers (Peter Lougheed and Donald Getty), a former mayor of Edmonton (Bill Smith), and a lieutenant-governor (Norman Kwong). Athletes of significance in other professional sports that played for the Elks include professional wrestler and WWE champion Roman Reigns, who played under his birthname Joe Anoa'i in 2008.
Wall of Honour edit
The Edmonton Elks have a policy of honouring the players who have best represented the team on the field. The player's name, number and seasons played with the Edmonton Elks are displayed on the edge of the concrete separating the field level from the lower bowl of Commonwealth Stadium. The Elks keep the numbers in circulation rather than retire them from use.
Numbers so honoured as of 2023[update]:
- 1 Warren Moon (2001)
- 2 Henry "Gizmo" Williams (2002)
- 3 Terry Vaughn (2023)
- 11 Sean Fleming (2011)
- 12 Tom Wilkinson (1982)
- 13 Larry Highbaugh (1996)
- 14 Oscar Kruger (1992)
- 15 Ricky Ray (2019)
- 22 Tom Scott (1993)
- 24 Johnny Bright (1983)
- 24 Ed Jones (2022)
- 25 Jim Germany (2022)
- 26 Dave Cutler (1986)
- 27 Don Getty (1992)
- 29 Joe Hollimon (2022)
- 30 Danny Bass (1992)
- 39 Willie Pless (2004)
- 42 Danny Kepley (1987)
- 47 Larry Wruck (2011)
- 51 Frank "Guts" Anderson[a] (1985)
- 53 Frank Morris (1984)
- 55 Ron Estay (2010)
- 60 Chris Morris (2008)
- 62 Bill Stevenson[a] (2014)
- 63 Hector Pothier (2014)
- 65 Dave Fennell (1984)
- 66 Roger Nelson (1987)
- 66 John LaGrone (1988)
- 67 Rod Connop (2005)
- 70 Brian Kelly (1989)
- 76 George McGowan (1985)
- 77 Tommy Joe Coffey (1988)
- 91 Jackie Parker (1983)
- 94 Rollie Miles (1983)
- 95 Norman Kwong (1984)
Current roster edit
|Italics indicate American player • Bold indicates Global player • 46 Roster, 10 Injured, 1 Practice roster, 5 Suspended|
updated 2023-10-25 • • • More CFL rosters
Current coaching staff edit
Special teams coach
Strength and Conditioning
Head coaches edit
- Annis Stukus (1949–1952)
- Frank Filchock (1952)
- Darrell Royal (1953)
- Pop Ivy (1954–1957)
- Sam Lyle (1958)
- Eagle Keys (1959–1963)
- Neill Armstrong (1964–1969)
- Ray Jauch (1970–1977)
- Hugh Campbell (1977–1982)
- Pete Kettela (1983)
- Jackie Parker (1983–1987)
- Joe Faragalli (1987–1990)
- Ron Lancaster (1991–1997)
- Kay Stephenson (1998)
- Don Matthews (1999–2000)
- Tom Higgins (2001–2004)
- Danny Maciocia (2005–2008)
- Richie Hall (2009–2010)
- Kavis Reed (2011–2013)
- Chris Jones (2014–2015)
- Jason Maas (2016–2019)
- Scott Milanovich (2020)
- Jaime Elizondo (2021)
- Chris Jones (2022–present)
General managers edit
- Al Anderson (1949–1956)
- Keith Rolfe (1957–1960)
- Joe Ryan (1960–1965)
- Vic Schwenk (1966)
- Norm Kimball (1966–1985)
- Hugh Campbell (1986–1996)
- Tom Higgins (1997–2004)
- Paul Jones (2005–2007)
- Danny Maciocia (2008–2010)
- Eric Tillman (2010–2012)
- Ed Hervey (2013–2016)
- Brock Sunderland (2017–2021)
- Chris Jones (2022–present)
CFL awards and trophies edit
- 1952, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1960, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1993, 1996, 2002, 2003
- Dave Fennell (DT): 1978, 1982
- Tom Wilkinson (QB): 1978
- Warren Moon (QB): 1980, 1982
- Dale Potter (LB): 1980
- Damon Allen (QB): 1987, 1993
- Stewart Hill (DE): 1987
- Jason Tucker (WR): 2003
- Ricky Ray (QB): 2005
- Mike Reilly (QB): 2015
- Garry Lefebvre (DB): 1973
- Dave Cutler (K): 1975
- Angelo Santucci (RB): 1978
- Dale Potter (LB): 1980
- Neil Lumsden (RB): 1981
- Dave Fennell (DT): 1982
- Milson Jones (RB): 1987
- Sean Fleming (P/K): 1993
- Mike Maurer (FB): 2005
- Shamawd Chambers (WR): 2015
- Billy Vessels (RB): 1953
- Jackie Parker (QB/RB): 1957, 1958, 1960
- Johnny Bright (RB): 1959
- George McGowan (WR): 1973
- Tom Wilkinson (QB): 1974
- Warren Moon (QB): 1983
- Tracy Ham (QB): 1989
- Mike Reilly (QB): 2017
- Danny Kepley (LB): 1977, 1980, 1981
- Dave Fennell (DT): 1978
- James Parker (LB): 1982
- Danny Bass (LB): 1989
- Willie Pless (LB): 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997
- Elfrid Payton (DE): 2002
- J. C. Sherritt (LB): 2012
- David Boone (DE): 1982
- Hector Pothier (OT): 1988
- Rick Walters (SB): 2001
- Adarius Bowman (WR): 2017
- Ryan King (LS): 2018
Punter (an anthropomorphic football) and Spike (an elk) are the mascots for the Edmonton Elks. They were introduced in 2004 and 2021, respectively. Nanook, a polar bear, was introduced in 1997, but was retired and replaced with Spike in 2021, coinciding with the rebranding.
See also edit
- Honoured posthumously
- "Edmonton CFL franchise changes its team name to Elks". AP News. 13 August 2021. Retrieved 14 October 2021.
- "Edmonton Eskimos Club Profile & History" (PDF). 2021 CFL Guide & Record Book (PDF). CFL Enterprises LP. Archived (PDF) from the original on August 5, 2021. Retrieved March 5, 2022.
- "About Us". GoElks.com. CFL Enterprises LP. Retrieved March 5, 2022.
- "New name. Same game. We are the Edmonton Elks". GoElks.com. CFL Enterprises, LP. June 1, 2021. Retrieved June 2, 2021.
- "EDMONTON OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCES TEAM NAME AS ELKS". CFL.ca (Press release). CFL Enterprises, LP. June 1, 2021. Retrieved June 2, 2021.
- "BOARD OF DIRECTORS". GoElks.com. CFL Enterprises LP. Archived from the original on 2021-06-18. Retrieved June 15, 2021.
- "CHRIS PRESSON NAMED ESKIMOS PRESIDENT AND CEO". GoElks.com (Press release). CFL Enterprises LP. August 7, 2019. Retrieved June 15, 2021.
- "Elks announce sweeping organizational changes". Canadian Football League. November 22, 2021.
- The Edmonton Rugby Football Club was reorganized as the Esquimaux on Oct. 16, 1908 at a meeting in the Windsor Hotel on Jasper Avenue and 101st Street.
The team had been nicknamed “Esquimaux” by a Calgary sportswriter as early as 1897
Edmonton Journal, October 15, 2012
- Hersher, Rebecca (2016-04-16). "Why You Probably Shouldn't Say 'Eskimo'". NPR. Greenland. Retrieved 2022-11-07.
- Parrott, Zach (2021-06-09). "Eskimo". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2022-11-07.
The word Eskimo is an offensive term that has been used historically to describe the Inuit throughout their homeland
- "Expert says 'meat-eater' name Eskimo an offensive term placed on Inuit". Retrieved 2021-04-01.
- Dunning, Norma (2017-11-17). "Edmonton Eskimos is a racial slur and it's time to stop using it". The Conversation. Retrieved 2023-03-19.
- Rogers, Sarah (2020-07-22). "Pressure mounts for Edmonton football club to act". Nunatsiaq News. Retrieved 2022-11-07.
- Rinaldi, Luc (2021-10-07). "Inside Pro Sports' Reckoning With Racism, For years, Edmonton's football club refused to change their insensitive name. Then their sponsors threatened to drop them". Canadian Business. Retrieved 2023-04-02.
- Slugoski, Kendra (2021-07-21). "CFL's Edmonton Eskimos dropping 'Eskimo' from team name". Global News. Retrieved 2023-04-02.
- Boyd, Alex; Mosleh, Omar (2020-07-21). "Edmonton Eskimos' name change is praised by a national Inuit group, seen as a step toward dismantling racism". The Star. Retrieved 2023-03-19.
- Dunning, Norma (2020-07-21). "Edmonton finally drops the Eskimos — and may my grandchildren never hear the E-word again". The Conversation. Retrieved 2023-03-19.
- "Edmonton's CFL team changes name to Elks after dropping Eskimos".
- "Eskimos legend Warren Moon supportive of name change". 3 down nation. 2021-07-17. Retrieved 2022-12-18.
- @EdmontonElks (1 June 2021). "The Double E's are here to stay, in a new way. With a new treatment, they represent our history. #ElksCharge" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- "Our Team. Our City. Elks launch new look for 2022 season". GoElks.com. CFL Enterprises, LP. May 20, 2022. Retrieved May 24, 2022.
- "New Look: Elks reveal new uniforms for 2022". CFL.ca. CFL Enterprises, LP. May 20, 2022. Retrieved May 24, 2022.
- "IT'S OVER! ELKS DOWN REDBLACKS TO END HOME LOSING STREAK". CFL. 2023-08-28. Retrieved 2023-08-28.
- "Elks blanked by Lions, set mark for longest home losing streak in North American pro sports". TSN. 2023-07-29. Retrieved 2023-08-08.
- Jones, Terry (2016-08-24). "Eskimos are still league leaders in attendance numbers, but half the seats at Commonwealth are empty". Edmonton Sun. Retrieved 2017-03-29.
- "Edmonton Elks".
- "Norman Kwong".
- "EDMONTON RETURN FOR JOE "ROMAN REIGNS" ANOA'I". 12 April 2019.
- "Mascots". GoElks.com. CFL Enterprises LP. Archived from the original on 2021-06-19. Retrieved June 15, 2021.