The Edmonton Elks are looking forward to making 2023 a successful season, continuing to grow, bringing excitement to Commonwealth Stadium, and being a team Edmonton can take pride in.
As the New Year arrives, here’s a look back at some of the highlights of the last 12 months. Vote for your favoruite Elks moment of 2022 at the bottom of the article.
Making a splash at the Draft
May 3, 2022
Edmonton Elks general manager and coach Chris Jones began laying the foundations for the future at the 2022 CFL Draft, making 10 selections, seven of whom would suit up for the Elks during the season.
Already, the 2022 Draft Class has begun making an impact in Edmonton, starting with the Green and Gold’s two first-round picks: Defensive back Enock Makonzo (fourth overall) finished second on the Elks in defensive tackles and tied for fourth in sacks, while Tre Ford (eighth overall) started three games at quarterback and passed for a pair of touchdowns.
Defensive back Jeremie Dominque proved to be a steal in the sixth round (48th overall), forcing two fumbles to tie for second on the Elks, and ranked fourth on the team in special teams tackles. Meanwhile Peter Adjey (Round 3, 28th overall) saw action in all 18 games as long snapper, and defensive linemen Jacob Plamondon (2nd round, 19th overall) and J-Min Pelley (supplemental pick) appeared in 14 and 16 games, respectively, gaining key experience that will pay dividends in the years to come.
Ray Gets His Call to the Hall
June 21, 2022
It was barely past breakfast time in his California home when the official announcement was made: Ricky Ray was going in to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2022.
The news had been eagerly anticipated in Edmonton, where Ray made his Green and Gold debut nearly 21 years earlier, beginning what would become one of the greatest quarterback tenures in CFL history.
Edmonton’s all-time leader in virtually every passing category, totalling 3,225 completions 40,531 yards, and 210 touchdowns, Ray played nine seasons in Green and Gold between 2002 and 2011, winning the Grey Cup in 2003 and 2005. He was the EE’s Most Outstanding Player Award nominee six times and led the league in passing yards three times while playing in Edmonton.
The legendary No. 15 would become the 43rd former Green and Gold player to be enshrined in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, and 53rd inductee total from the EE, including players and builders.
Turning Canada Day into Tre Day
July 1, 2022
Disney movie writers couldn’t have penned a better script for Ford’s first career start, in Week 4 against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Start with the location: Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, halfway between Ford’s hometown of Niagara Falls, and where he played university football at Waterloo.
Then there’s the date: July 1, the nation’s birthday 155th birthday, as Ford became the first Canadian to start at quarterback for the Green and Gold in 44 years.
And finally, the plot: the Elks fall behind 22-9 in the third quarter, before the rookie pivot rallies his team to a 29-25 victory, completing 10 of his final 12 pass attempts, including a fourth-quarter strike to Kenny Lawler for his first career touchdown toss.
The climatic scene saw Edmonton score the winning touchdown with just 88 seconds remaining, on a fumble return after Elks defensive back Scott Hutter punched the ball loose from the grasp of Ti-Cats quarterback Dane Evans.
Green and Gold from East to West
Sept. 16, 2022
On the same night of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Hamilton, the Elks trotted out for their road game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders with special “15” decals on their helmets to honour Ray.
And while one of their great QBs of the past was giving his speech on the Hall of Fame level at Tim Hortons Field, the Elks’ present day pivot was about to have a star-making performance at field level in Mosaic Stadium.
Taylor Cornelius led the Elks on a last-minute drive that culminated a game-winning field goal by Sergio Castillo. The 47-yard kick silenced the Regina faithful, while thrilling all the EE season-seat holders who cheered on Edmonton’s come-from-behind 26-24 victory from a special watch party at Commonwealth Stadium.
Following the victory, Cornelius, who had 237 passing yards and rushed for 93 yards, and EE linebacker Matthew Thomas were both named CFL Stars of the Week.
A Wonderful Night for the EE Family
Sept. 26, 2022
During a season when she hit Elks games with thunder, lightning, gale force winds and torrential downpours, Mother Nature made up for it on the night of the Edmonton Elks Annual Dinner at Commonwealth Stadium.
Barely a cloud in the sky. Temperatures 10 degrees above average. It was a simply spectacular early fall evening as the yearly mingling of fans with players and coaches was held outdoors for the very first time.
As part of the festivities, receiver Manny Arceneaux received the David Boone Award, which is named for the late EE defensive lineman who spent countless hours helping the less fortunate and is presented annually to the Elks’ player that best displays the characteristics on the field and in the community that Boone stood for. The Elks also celebrated their 2022 Wall of Honour inductees, Jim Germany, Joe Hollimon, and Ed Jones.
The evening will forever be cherished by those attending who had the opportunity to meet Christian Saulsberry. A fantastic player for the Elks and an even better person, the late Saulsberry brought a smile to all he interacted with and won’t be forgotten.
Manny’s the Man
Nov. 17, 2022
At the CFL Awards during Grey Cup Week in Regina, the league celebrated what Edmonton had come to appreciate over the prior several months.
As part of the annual ceremony, held in the Connexus Arts Centre, Arceneaux received the Tom Pate Memorial Award, recognizing outstanding sportsmanship and significant contribution to team and community. The veteran receiver gave a moving acceptance speech, quoting Dr. Martin Luther King.
From the moment he arrived in Edmonton last spring, Arceneaux immersed himself in the community and became a leader by example in the Elks locker room. He was pretty good on the field too, making 39 catches in 12 games, as he climbed to 24th on the CFL all-time career receptions list, with 627.
Also honoured by the CFL in 2022 was Elks defensive lineman Jake Ceresna (CFL and West Division All-Star) and Lawler (West Division All-Star).