Roughriders change up mascot, spark outcry from fans

Gainer the Gopher reviews his new look during first half CFL football action between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Toronto Argonauts. (Kayle Neis/CP)

Gainer the Gopher, the mascot of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, got a makeover prior to the team’s home opener Monday and fans of the CFL franchise are outraged.

Gainer, from Parkbeg, Sask., is a key figure around the province and has been a symbol of the Roughriders franchise since 1977.

But he appears to have lost some weight since last season and received an eye adjustment.

Have a look for yourself. Here’s the old Gainer and the new one can be found at the top of the article.

Saskatchewan Roughriders mascot Gainer high fives a young fan during the Grey Cup Parade on Saturday November 23, 2013 in Regina. (Liam Richards/CP)

Since new Gainer made its first appearance against the Toronto Argonauts on Canada Day — a game Saskatchewan easily won — Rider Nation has started the hashtag #bringbackgainer to try and get the team to reverse the mascot makeover.

Even former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall got in on the action, saying Gainer was in a mid-life crisis.

For all the flack, the Roughriders tried to have fun with the backlash. They tweeted a video prior to the game hyping the move and also some pictures during the matchup.

But many fans of the historic franchise aren’t buying it, and even created the change.org petition “Bring Gainer Back,” which quickly surpassed over 250 signatures as of late Monday night.

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