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Edmonton’s football team now Edmonton Elks

Click to play video: 'What’s in a name? How the Edmonton Elks moniker came to be' What’s in a name? How the Edmonton Elks moniker came to be
For decades, the team was known as the Edmonton Eskimos. Now, they're the Edmonton Elks. John Sexsmith looks back at how the name change came to be and the process behind picking the new moniker – Jun 1, 2021

Edmonton’s football team has a new name. The Edmonton Elks will charge into the 2021 CFL season after the team announced its new moniker Tuesday morning.

The team launched a survey with seven names on it and the name Elk was “highly favoured,” the team said. The players and coaches voted overwhelmingly for the same.

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After debate, and consultation with a linguistics expert from the Oxford Dictionary and the University of Alberta’s linguistic department, the team said an “s” was added to the original choice to reflect the speed, strength and resilience of the green and gold and northern Alberta.

“Either word would have worked to make sure that we were correct,” president and CEO Chris Presson said.

“I like the ‘s’ on the end for a lot of reasons. I think it sounds better. And, frankly, I see a piece of inclusion there. You know, Elks means not me or you, but us.”

Click to play video: 'Introducing the Edmonton Elks, the new name of the city’s CFL team' Introducing the Edmonton Elks, the new name of the city’s CFL team
Introducing the Edmonton Elks, the new name of the city’s CFL team – Jun 1, 2021

The team unveiled not only the new name on Tuesday, but several new logos. The classic EE will still be used as well as an elk logo.

Different logos will be used at different times, but Presson said they’re not doing away with the iconic EE logo any time soon.

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Edmonton Elks merchandise is displayed at Commonwealth Stadium on June 1, 2021. Global News

Also sticking around will be the fight song sung by 630 CHED’s own Bryan Hall every home game.

Presson said the team and Hall are working on what lyrics to change and what the new song will feature, but it will be ready to be debuted if the CFL returns to play this year.

The team reached its decision on the name and the logo in February, Presson said, though the trademark wasn’t submitted until Monday in an effort to keep the name under wraps.

Click to play video: 'Meet the Edmonton Elks football team' Meet the Edmonton Elks football team
Meet the Edmonton Elks football team – Jun 1, 2021

Earlier this year, Ryan King announced he was retiring from the team but was involved in the video shoot to announce the new name.

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He thinks the team made the right choice.

“You always play for the logo,” he said. “You have the name on the back which is your family that you represent, but the logo on the front is your journey to get to pro sports, it’s the city you play for, it’s all the people in the stands representing you.

“You look out and you see all the jerseys and you’re on the field playing, it’s a very proud moment to represent the logo on the front of your jersey.”

Read more: Edmonton Football Team calls on fans to vote on 7 possible names

King said he tried to get the name out of the crew when working on the video, but everyone was tight lipped and he didn’t find out until Tuesday morning.

The team made the decision to drop “Eskimos” last July after repeated calls to change the name.

Presson said the team made the right decision in making the change.

“We definitely did the right thing. It was needed. It was probably a few years overdue, to be honest, but I’m glad that we’re where we are now.”

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

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A call was put out to fans to suggest names, and the team whittled the list down to seven possibilities: Elk, Evergreens, Evergolds, Eclipse, Elkhounds, Eagles and Elements.

“The organization fully understands that we’re taking something and have taken something away from people who have been supporters of our team for decades,” Allan Watt, VP of marketing and communications, said.

“Seventy years our team was called the previous name. Now we’re applying a new name to it today.”

“It’s cool to see that chapter close in such a historic franchise like this and to see the new beginning,” King said.

Edmonton Elks merchandise is displayed at Commonwealth Stadium on June 1, 2021. Global News

Fans were able to vote on the seven names, but the final decision came down to the team.

“I don’t think any of us in our organization right from the board of directors on down realized how much is involved in actually changing a name,” Watt said. “Then making sure your name is protected, making sure you’ve got all the registrations done, and then there’s the whole process of fan engagement we went through.”

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Read more: Edmonton Football Club: The Double E closing in on new name

The team said 38,761 people responded to the name survey in 2020.

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