Gophers are cute, harmless creatures to some, but to the CFL's Calgary Stampeders one particular creature, Gainer the Gopher, is seen as something else.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders' mascot has been banned from Sunday's CFL semifinal game in Calgary.
And now public outrage over the banning has even spilled onto the floor of the Saskatchewan legislature.
It all starteda few days ago, when the Saskatchewan Roughriders were preparing to send the man who wears the Gainer the Gopher costume to Calgary for the CFL Western Divisionon Sunday.
However, the Calgary Stampeders organization has decided to ban the mascot from McMahon Stadium, saying he would detract from their own mascot, Ralph the Dog.
"Our fans have earned the right for us to be led on the field by our own mascot without competition from Gainer," Stampeders president Ted Hellard said.
The move drew a quick response in Saskatchewan Tuesday on sports pages and radio call-in shows — and then the politicians got involved.
"It is a sad day in Saskatchewan," Glenn Hagel,the province's Culture, Youth and Recreation minister, said in the legislative assembly.
"Imagine our shock and dismay at our opponent's display of bad blood and poor sportsmanship."
Saskatchewan Party MLA Ken Cheveldayoff joined in, but couldn't resist a few digs at New Democrats.
Never, he said, has Saskatchewan won a Grey Cup while the NDP has been in power.
He ended on a non-partisan note, however, saying: "Go Riders."