*Before you decide to read this post, I want to say I have absolutely NOTHING against NHL ice girl squads. They are great people, and represent organizations well. This post is to point out a great idea that could help the future of the NHL entertainment wise. Thank you and enjoy!*
When I was a young girl, the first thing that popped into my mind when I thought of women in sports was Cheerleaders. By cheerleaders, I thought of the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders that would hop onto the field at halftime, and dance to the same routine over and over again.
With the rise of feminism since then, more and more females have entered the Sport industry, leading to the creation of the NWHL and WNBA, and being able to see more females pop up in professional front offices all over the country.
However, one thing still hasn’t changed.
Spirit Squads, like the Ice Girls, are considered the cheerleaders of the NHL. They typically take care of the on ice intermission activities (games), handing out programs, and also working with the community. Some of them (like Dallas Ice Girls) dance on a platform in the middle of the crowd preforming a small routine in the lower bowl. They are essentially the face of the organization that isn’t the players. They are the ones that interact with the crowd to get the fans pumped up for a win, and give the fans a memorable experience to want to come back again.
The job can be a fun one, but why aren’t men included in this amazingness?
Hockey teams all over North America are starting to transition an Ice Girl squad, in favor for a co-ed spirit squad, essentially doing the same job specifics, but with a different group of people. The Washington Capitals have started a squad simply called the “Washington Capitals Spirit Squad”, which entails throwing shirts, and pumping up the “energetic” sold-out crowd at the Verizon center. As of right now, the Caps are the only NHL team in the league to have a co-ed spirit team like this.
The co-ed spirit squad is becoming popular in the minor leagues, like the AHL.
Texas Stars (AHL affiliate to the Dallas Stars) have a spirit team called the Ice Patrol, a group of around 15 people who take care of the giveaways offered at games, and also the on ice intermission games (like sumo races and soccer). The Ice Patrol also manages watch parties for away games, and the kids zone with temporary tattoos. The Ice Patrol replaced their version of the Ice Girls, and allows more people to be given the opportunity to be part of the spirit team, and also probably make old people comfortable at games again.
Lets be real, if you are a 50-something year old man watching a bunch of girls in yoga pants and a sports bra, you are going to probably be looked at as a pervert.
But women don’t want to be perceived as this.
Women want to be looked like professionals, showing how hard we have gotten our life to be where we are. Someone I know in the sport industry is the head of their own department, which is a department full of women.
This is showing that the sport industry is becoming more and more female driven.
Women are hockey players. Women are hockey fans. We aren’t just at a game cause we got dragged there. We are there cause we WANT to be.
Women are not just cheerleaders or Ice Dancers.
They are FANS.
Adding co-ed spirit squads opens the door on entertainment in the sport industry for men, changes the image of women in the sport industry, and lastly,
it would get rid of the assumption that women are puck bunnies.
Women and sports doesn’t equal bikinis and calendars.
see you in October