Wildlife expert thinks Elk would work for new EE Football Team name

STOCK--A male Elk wanders through the grass along the Vermillion Lakes near Banff, Alberta Wednesday November 1, 2000. (CP PHOTO/Adrian Wyld). CP PHOTO/Adrian Wyld

The EE Football Team is now sifting through suggestions for the club’s new name.

Fans had until midnight on Tuesday to make their pitch. There have been all sort of suggestions. One name, with a historic connection, is definitely in the mix.


“I think it’d be a really good name for a football team,” said Matt Besko, director of wildlife policy for Alberta Environment and Parks. “They’re big, they’re fearless, strong, very resilient. They have amazing endurance. Because they’re a herd animal, they work well as a team.”

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In 1922, the Edmonton Elks rugby club played for the Grey Cup, losing to Queen’s University. Besko said there are about 26,000 elk in Alberta, and most of them would make good football players.

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“They’re probably one of the most athletic types of wildlife that we have here. If you go out to Elk Island National Park just east of the city, there’s an eight-foot high fence. Usually, that will keep elk in there, but it’s been documented that a mature elk can leap over that,” said Besko.

When it comes to teamwork and aggression, Besko explained elk fit the bill. In the spring, elk work together to keep predators away from calves.

“A mature cow and others will keep on the watch for that. One of the lead cows will provide a vocalization saying there’s a predator nearby. That makes the herd relatively alert. If a predator shows up, they’ll actually put the run on a predator. They’ll lash out with their front hooves. If you weigh 400-some kilos, and you lash out with a long leg with a hard hoof on the leg, it’s kind of like a really hard Tyson punch but multiplied by 10.”

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Read more: EE Football Team looking to the public for its new name

In a league with Lions, Tiger-Cats, Alouettes, and horses (Stampeders), Besko believes the Edmonton Elk could be the mightiest animal of them all.

“Elk is one of the only species that can take a RedBlack and turn him into a red and purple!”

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