When Enoch Cree Nation’s Ashley Callingbull became the co-host of Edmonton Elks games, the model and motivational speaker was excited to embrace the community. Callingbull makes her Green and Gold debut on June 3, a Friday preseason game against the Calgary Stampeders, which the Elks previously announced to be the Stand With Ukraine night.
“It’s so touching to come back to my hometown and see people cheering around the town with full passion,” says Callingbull, who grew up immersed in local sports. “I have had many professions in this life, but when the Elks contacted me about hosting the games, I thought to myself, this is unreal.”
After an hour-long media tour at Commonwealth Stadium, Callingbull got another perspective of the Elks’ sense of global community responsibility, from the press box. On Friday night, on top of the familiar green and gold Elks colour, the 50,000 capacity stadium will carry a distinctive blue and gold feel to showcase Ukrainian culture: The Ukraine anthem will be performed by the Viter Ukrainian Folk Choir, halftime will feature a Shumka performance, bilingual student performances and more.
“Sitting inside the press box is different from my usual memories of being a fan. The stadium is massive, and you know what the team represents has a great potential to impact the city. I’m so glad my home team continues to dedicate itself to the community,” smiles Callingbull. She also expects to see a future Indigenous girls’ football program in Edmonton.
Join the crowd at Commonwealth Stadium with Ashley Callingbull at the Stand With Ukraine Elks game night. All single game pre-season tickets are now on sale for $15, with net proceeds going to the Canada-Ukraine Foundation.