Saskatchewan

Gainer the Gopher's new look draws mockery online

The Saskatchewan Roughriders introduced a brand new look for iconic mascot Gainer the Gopher on Canada Day.

Roughriders' mascot has had several looks through the years

On Canada Day, the Saskatchewan Roughriders introduced a brand new look for their iconic mascot, Gainer the Gopher. (Kayle Neis/The Canadian Press)

The Saskatchewan Roughriders' July 1 game had a few surprises.

A storm rolling through Regina caused a two-hour delay near the end of the second quarter at Mosaic Stadium. The Riders eventually won 32-7 against the Toronto Argonauts. 

Meanwhile, the team introduced a new look for its iconic mascot Gainer the Gopher.

The new mascot design is thinner than before, has defined green eyes and a bigger, smiling mouth.

Some fans of the mascot have been rallying on social media, saying the changes were unwanted. There is at least one online petition calling for the change to be reversed.

Some fans said the new design is "creepy," while others claimed it has caused nightmares.

A spokesperson for the Riders said, "we've decided to just let Gainer speak for himself."

Gainer through the years

Gainer the Gopher has been a symbol for the Saskatchewan Roughriders since 1977, according to the Riderville website.

A picture of Gainer the Gopher in the late 70s, around the time he was first introduced. (Saskatchewan Archives)

Gainer has gone through many changes over his 40-year career. The mascot wore jersey number 44 in the early days. Starting in 2006, Gainer started wearing the number 13 to represent the "thirteenth man."

In 1982, Gainer wore a lone collar.

Gainer the Gopher has a long-running tradition of getting fans to chant “go riders” with signs. (L.Marusiak/Saskatchewan Archives)

The mascot is modelled after the Richardson ground squirrel, or gopher, a common sight in southern Saskatchewan.

Gainer the Gopher in 2013. (Liam Richards/The Canadian Press)

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