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Edmonton CFL Team Name Change: Here Are 20 Non-Racist Name Ideas

Edmonton Empire? Edmonton Elks? Edmonton Mallrats?
Edmonton CFL quarterback Trevor Harris hands the ball off during a game on Nov. 10, 2019.
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Edmonton CFL quarterback Trevor Harris hands the ball off during a game on Nov. 10, 2019.

It looks like it’s finally happening. Edmonton’s CFL team is expected to drop its racist name.

While the team has yet to confirm, according to reports from TSN Thursday, the CFL team will likely announce moving on from the name as early as next week. This follows the lead of Washington’s NFL team, which announced it was dropping its unsavoury name last week.

The Alberta team faced public backlash and has bled sponsors in recent weeks even as it publicly doubled down on the name. But now, change is on its way. After 100 years, the team in Edmonton will no longer bear a name often used as a derogatory term toward Inuit people.

With the news, everyone and their dog has a name suggestion ranging from classic prairie football fan pettiness (Edmonton Roughriders anyone?) to the obviously and delightfully dumb (Footy McBallface).

WATCH: Washington NFL team drops controversial name. Story continues below.

Here are 20 of suggestions from us and others. And if any Edmonton football execs are reading this, please take them very very seriously. We expect full credit if you pick one of these.

Edmonton Empire

Getting the most obvious choice out of the way here. Shortly following the reports that the team was changing its name, the name “Edmonton Empire” was trending on Twitter. The team trademarked the phrase back in 2018, possibly anticipating a future name-change. The time is now, and fans are wondering if Edmonton Empire is on its way in.

It is a bit Star Wars, though, don’t you think? Also, for a team trying to distance itself from racism and colonialism, “empire” may not strike the right chord.

Edmonton Earls

Ok, naming a football team after a western Canadian chain of faux-nice restaurants that I spent many of my childhood birthdays at may seem like a stretch. But what better next step for a team distancing itself from a racist name than to idolize a restaurant built on appropriating dishes like butter chicken and maki rolls from other cultures.

Just kidding. But I must admit they do make a mean old fashioned cocktail. And the retro parrot that used to appear in restaurants would make a perfect mascot.

You don’t even have to change the EE logos!

Edmonton Mallrats

There may not be rats in Alberta, but what better way to honour Edmonton than by entombing West Edmonton Mall into the team’s name forever.

And during the age of COVID-19, where mall-going is low on peoples’ priority list, it would invoke fun memories of simpler times. Times where you could go to a waterpark, ride a roller coaster, visit a pirate ship and see a fire-breathing dragon in a movie theatre all in one trip.

Yes, I love the mall and I will launch a petition to play this video before every game.

In related, hyper-specific mall names ….

Edmonton Whales

You might say Edmonton is nowhere near a body of water that could accommodate a whale, and we should save whale team names for places like Vancouver, which is actually near the ocean.

You’d be wrong.

The iconic West Edmonton Mall whale.
West Edmonton Mall
The iconic West Edmonton Mall whale.

Who can forget one of the saddest attractions at West Edmonton Mall, a whale statue in a fountain with a giant gaping mouth you can not only throw coins into, but walk fully inside. It’s a perfect mascot for a team trying to rebuild.

And you thought malls were just for shopping.

Edmonton Aliens

One last mall-related suggestion, I promise. The Galaxyland Theme Park recently moved away its beloved “Cosmo” mascot to make way for a branded partnership with Hasbro. Why not repurpose the fun little yellow alien for sports?

Edmonton Huskies

Representatives from the CFL team defended the previous name as representing the “tough” and “rugged” spirit of the North. You know what does that and isn’t a derogatory term for a literal group of people? Huskies!

A husky is a dog, a perfectly reasonable thing to have as your mascot compared to a racist term for a group of people. Say it with me now Edmonton: “People are not mascots. Dogs can be mascots, that’s OK.”

Edmonton Elks

Animal native to the area? Check.

Only a one-letter change from Edmonton Esks? Check.

Once again, an animal, not a derogatory term for a group of people? Check, check, check.

Edmonton Equinox

Twitter user Kenda Gee suggests the Equinox, which has roughly the same syllable structure as the previous name.

Edmonton River Valley

If you dare trash-talk Edmonton anywhere near someone from there, be prepared for an earful about the “beautiful river valley” and “wonderful walking trails.” Why not name the team after what is supposedly the best part of the city?

(For the record, it’s a perfectly fine river valley.)

Edmonton Roughriders

Why not annoy the VERY INTENSE Saskatchewan fans by picking the same name? Prairie chaos!!

Edmonton Readers

The logo could be that new tank-like library in Edmonton’s downtown core and it would be super intimidating for other teams. The name “Readers” also would suggest that the team is actually reading up on the history of systemic racism against Indigenous people in Canada rather than just pretending it’s not there. A win-win.

Edmonton Energy

The city once had a basketball team called the Energy.

There may be some beef with Calgary though, which has the slogan “be part of the Energy.”

Edmonton Eco-Warriors

Sure you have the Oilers for hockey, but why not the Eco-Warriors as a nice contrast and look toward the future of sustainable energy?

Edmonton Solar Panels

See above. And the green and yellow colour scheme does lend itself to some sun-based imagery!

Edmonton Epidemiologists

Sports teams are often named after something aspirational or heroic. And in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, doctors, front-line workers and others have been dubbed superheroes in their own right. So the team could keep the EE branding and celebrate a scientific field we all suddenly know a lot more about.

Edmonton Silver Balls

What better way to pay tribute to the city with the team’s name, than to honour its most beloved and reviled piece of public art. The team could even take the next step and rename their stadium the Talus Dome.

Talus Dome, a controversial piece of Edmonton public art.
Kurt Bauschardt/Flickr
Talus Dome, a controversial piece of Edmonton public art.

Edmonton Equestrians

People like horses, right?

Edmonton Glaciers

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney drew controversy for promoting the city as an NHL hub with a video that didn’t actually include any images of Edmonton, but rather focused on the stunning scenery of Banff and Jasper.

With that in mind, the team could lean in and double-down on branding the city as actually being Jasper. It worked to get the NHL hub.

Edmonton Feet Draggers

Because c’mon. We can all agree, this should’ve happened a long time ago, yes?

BONUS: Footy McBallface

Obviously the best choice.

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