After extended pandemic off-season Edmonton Elks are back

For the first time in 18 months, the Canadian Football League (CFL) is back in Edmonton with the Elks training camp underway.

The Elks took to the field Sunday to start this season’s training camp, marking the first time the players have touched CFL turf since losing to the Hamilton Tiger Cats at the Eastern Final in November of 2019.

“We’re excited,” said Vontage Diggs, Elks linebacker. “We’re just super excited to be here doing what we love.”

While there have been changes to the lineup since last season, Edmonton Elks quarterback Trevor Harris said the team is ready for the season ahead.

“Today when the alarm clock went off at 5:30 it was like, ‘Let’s go,’” he said.

The offseason was even longer for SirVincent Rogers who sustained a season-ending injury during training camp before the 2019 season.

“It was long man,” the offensive lineman said. “If the guys were out 16 to 18 months, I was out even longer than that.

“It felt so great to get today in and find a starting point.”

Head coach Jaime Elizondo said the energy remained high throughout the day and there are big expectations for the team this year.

“The temp was good,” Elizondo said. “I’m really proud and there are moments when you step back on the field and you’re calling that play again – you’re seeing guys interact and communicate on defence.

“It’s all really cool to see again.”

The first day was all about easing back into the game and familiarization with new players in the locker and the team’s new name.

“I got caught with it today,” Diggs described. “It’s one of those things you’ve got to switch off in your mind.

“You’re used to saying one thing over and over and over again. We’re still going to be Edmonton at the end of the day. The Elks is a great thing. Look at the logo. It’s fierce.”

The Elks have their season opener on Aug. 7 when they host the Ottawa Redblacks.