The Edmonton Elks are scheduled to play a series of three games over the final 7 days of the CFL’s regular season. The league has indicated that they will be allowed to dress 5 extra players for both of their week 16 games, along with their opponents, in an attempt to reduce the risk for exhausted players to endure serious injuries.
CFL teams can usually dress only 45 players per game, which means Edmonton, Toronto, and BC will be allowed to dress a total of 50 players for their Week 16 matchups, per a press release from the Elks organization back in early September.
Elks general manager Brock Sunderland spoke to the media regarding the situation, stating,
“Hopefully we won’t need that, but to sit here and try to predict what’s going to happen on something this rare and for the first time ever? We’re all guessing a little bit. We’re all doing our best to prepare. We think we have a good plan, but no one’s ever done this before so we’ll find out after the fact.”
The Elks were initially scheduled to face the Toronto Argonauts on August 26th, but the team suffered a Covid-19 outbreak, forcing the league to reschedule the game. The Elks matchup against Toronto is now set to take place on November 16th.
Sunderland understands how big of a challenge this will be for his team and has been prepping the entire organization for it. Additionally, they believe the Elks will be the first professional football team to play games in that short of a time frame.
“We’ve been preparing for it with everybody on staff from equipment to medical to video to football operations and there’s no blueprint,” said Sunderland. “There’s no way we could reach out whether it be a college team or another professional team and ask them, ‘Hey, what was the best approach in your opinion?’ We’re kind of writing the script here, so it’s new to everybody.”
The Elks are currently sitting in last place in the West Division with a record of 2-7, and have already been eliminated from the playoffs.
Coming off of a Week 12 Bye, The Elks are now set to host a Week 13 matchup with the Hamilton-Tiger Cats.