On July 21, 2020, The Edmonton Eskimos announced they would officially retire their original name and begin the process of determining a new one. While assessing the options for a replacement, they would instead go by “Edmonton Football Team or “EE Football Team.”
Known Potential Team Names
For some time now, the Edmonton Football Team has been gauging fan interest in potential new names, having ideas submitted online for review. In February 2021, the team released a poll asking fans to vote for 1 of 7 potential names, narrowed down from the much larger list of entries. The listed names were “Evergreens”, “Eagles”, “Elkhounds”, “Eclipse”, “Elk”, “Evergolds”, and “Elements”. In early March 2021, trademarks were filed for 2 additional names, “Energy” and “Elks.” Currently, “Elk” seems to be the leading fan favorite, but the board of directors will be making the final decision whenever the time comes.
All Known Potential Team Names:
History Of The Name “Eskimos”
The name “Eskimos” was officially adopted by Edmonton’s football team in 1949, but the earliest uses of the name in sports date back to the late 1800s/early 1900s for various Edmonton sports franchises. By the 1970s, the term “Eskimos” had become more widely known as offensive, popularly perceived as “eaters of raw meat” in Algonquian languages, and historically used to denote Inuit.
By the early 2000s, the name had become very controversial in the Inuit community, with critics arguing that it was disrespectful and appropriates indigenous identity and culture. Due to these criticisms, around 2015, word of a potential name change began to gain traction. Around that time, former Edmonton and Argonauts Wide Receiver/Slot Back and 2004 Grey Cup Winner Andre Talbo even made comments about the situation stating
“Sports organizations need to be community-building organizations. And if we’re isolating and offending part of that community, then our particular organization or league is not doing its job.”
Despite the many critics, the team chose to stick with the name. A national survey in 2017 found that 57% of participants still found the name acceptable, so the team felt no real need to change it. However, following another year of continued criticism, the team decided to hire a public relations firm that would spend the next 2 years researching public opinions regarding the name. In February 2020, they would release a statement announcing they’d again keep the name unchanged. The statement read
“There were a range of views regarding the club’s name but no consensus emerged to support a name change. The club has therefore decided to retain its name.”
However, this announcement turned out to be a bit premature. In the summer of 2020, following the murder of George Floyd and the resulting protests for racial equality, the team once again felt the pressure to change their name. Sponsors soon began dropping the team, and on July 21, 2020, the team issued a press release stating they would officially retire the name “Eskimos.” The team originally aimed for a mid-April release of their new branding, but it would appear that it will not happen as planned.
As we approach the CFL Draft on May 4 and camps in the coming months, one can’t help but wonder if the team will keep the name “Edmonton Football Team” for at least the 2021 season. Some fans have even made it known that they are more fond of the placeholder name than the other options available.
Realistically, we could get an announcement of a new name any time now. However, with so much to still be determined regarding the CFL’s season, the upcoming draft and camps, as well as the CFL’s ongoing talks with Dany Garcia, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and RedBird Capital, It would not be shocking if this issue is put somewhat on the backburner for now.