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.