Tag: cheerleaders

Mike Commodore

Not everyone is happy that the Oilers plan to add cheerleaders

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Oh, Ice Girls and cheerleaders. Your gyrations and spandex uniforms are fodder for post-goal closeups and frowning house wives in equal proportions. It’s debatable whether they make sense in sports in general and hockey in particular, but anyone who cringes at their presence must also acknowledge that they’re not going anywhere. In fact, their navel-sporting presence is growing throughout the NHL.

Twenty-three American NHL teams already featured some variation on ice girls/cheerleaders as part of their in-arena entertainment. This might be a milestone that leaves some a bit squeamish, but the Edmonton Oilers will become the first Canadian NHL team to employ cheerleaders, as Joe discussed yesterday.

To little surprise, the decision indeed ruffled a few feathers. Jeff Cummings tracked down Lisa Munro, an Oilers fan who started an online petition intended to convince the Oilers to halt their plans to add cheerleaders.

Petition author Lisi Monro, 26, says a cheer team would ruin the longtime traditional experience at Rexall, and the sight of scantily clad cheerleaders on the ice is not part of the hockey culture in Canada.

“This isn’t appropriate for a Canadian hockey team to have this kind of entertainment,” said Monro about her petition http://www.PetitionOnline.com/NoCheer.

“I don’t think this is hockey. (This type of entertainment) doesn’t represent the tradition of the game.”

Cummings reported that the petition garnered 60 votes by this afternoon, although the URL listed in that quote didn’t work properly when I tried it. Either way, it will take far more than 60 votes for the Oilers to backpedal on this decision.

But that doesn’t mean that every portion of their fan base will be titillated.

Coming soon to Edmonton Oilers games: Cheerleaders?!

Chicago Bears v Dallas Cowboys

Part of the allure of the NHL for a lot of fans is the ability to take in an athletic event and not end up inundated with distractions aside from what’s going on on the ice. Sure arenas will do their part to break out with in-arena entertainment like the kiss cam, trivia, and videos meant to hype the fans up for action.

Something you generally don’t see in the NHL, however, are cheerleaders. Sure they’re more than popular in both football and basketball, but those games lend themselves well towards having more than reasonably attractive women with pom-poms and uniforms trying to lead the crowd on in cheers.

The NHL, as you may have noticed, doesn’t really do so well in providing an area for cheerleaders to both be effectively seen and heard. College hockey does, indeed have cheerleaders, and their efforts are mostly contained in pregame entertainment on the ice. The NHL has it’s share of “ice girls” who shovel the ice during timeouts while dressed up in team colors and sometimes scantily clad and even the Carolina Hurricanes have an actual group of cheerleaders called the Storm Squad.

Canadians have taken pride in that they take the game serious enough so that they don’t need cheerleaders to help spice things up at their home arenas. As it turns out, the Edmonton Oilers are about to shake things up and do things a lot different north of the border.

The Edmonton Oilers are looking for “athletic girls in good physical condition” to be part of a cheer team that will be the first of its kind for a Canadian NHL team.

A statement released by the team Thursday afternoon says the Edmonton Oilers cheer team will “amplify the already electric in-game entertainment lineup for fans at Rexall Place” and “augment participation at events and community functions throughout Oil Country.”

Edmonton Oilers president and CEO Patrick LaForge is quoted in the statement as saying the formation of the team is “another example of the Oilers responding to the wishes of our valued customers.”

All right so the Oilers have a lot of great young talent on the ice to keep everyone entertained, but with winter about to settle in on northern Alberta, apparently fans want the talent off the ice to be improved as well. Who knew? While last year’s Oilers were bad and not very enjoyable to watch, at least cheerleaders could’ve made for a distraction for some of the fans. I sincerely doubt female fans would give a crap about the types of people the Oilers are looking for.

What makes for a good idea on paper to a room full of old-school marketing gurus can turn into complete apathy when it’s put into action. Let’s face it, people aren’t dropping tons of money on tickets to an NHL game to see girls cheer the team on. I mean, maybe some people will enjoy that, but that’s just side show stuff. In Canada, however, this is sacrilege. Hell, in most of the NHL it feels wildly out of place. That’s not to say we’re against teams doing what they can to keep fans into the game, but this just seems pretty empty.