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Apparently having the best team in the OHL isn't enough to keep fans motivated and entertained in Windsor, so the Spitfires are in the market for Ice Girls....
Since there are so few things in the OHL exclusively for women, the Spitfires have decided to open this great opportunity up to "girls" aged 18 or older.
NOTE: Not to nitpick, but usually once a girl hits puberty she's considered a woman. Men referring to grown women as "girls" -- as far as I'm concerned -- is patronizing, but what do I know? I'm just a girl.
According to the release "the Spitfires are currently looking to add highly energetic, fun and engaging members to the 2009-2010 Ice Girls Team – a promotions, entertainment and fan interaction team. The Ice Girl members are at the forefront of gearing up the crowd for Spitfires hockey."
When I received the press release from the Spitfires yesterday, I fired off an e-mail to Rob Gagnon, the team's PR director, asking why the call was open only to "girls" and not highly energetic, fun and engaging "boys" as well?
"I’m not sure," wrote Gagnon in his reply. "(I'm) not heading this project . . ."
The reason I ask is because the best dancer in an OHL ice troupe I've ever seen was a dude/man/boy. Those of you in Saginaw might remember him as part of the Saginaw Spirit Dance Team. It's been a couple years since I was in Saginaw, so I don't know if the dance team is still Spirit-ing or if he's still dancing with them -- but he was by far the best of the bunch.
And I've seen a lot of attempts at
T AND A dance teams in the OHL over the years -- Brampton, Mississauga, Ottawa, Peterborough (that was truly unfortunate) and the aforementioned Spirit.
From what I've seen at various levels (OHL, AHL, NHL and SPHL), this kind of thing fails miserably when you have two things:
a) Good calibre hockey
b) Educated hockey fans
The only reason I don't mind it in the NHL is because frankly if I'm paying that kind of money for tickets I expect to see a three-ring circus during every stoppage in play.
I saw a very successful ice dance team while watching hockey in the Southern Pro Hockey League. It worked there because the majority of their fans had no concept of what good hockey was supposed to look like, so booty-shaking was a welcome distraction from what was happening on ice (it was worse than watching old-timers play shinny). And frankly that's all this is in the OHL, an ill-advised distraction.
Those fans in the South were used to the distractions because they were raised watching sports like football, where because of the number of stoppages and pace of the game, cheerleaders are commonplace.
If you have to explain how a power play works in your game day program, a dance team is probably a great idea.
Two of my girlfriends were dancers for the Knoxville IceBears "Hunnies" so I was able to see the kind of crap they had to put up with. It was mostly walking around, smiling and posing for pictures with kids, weirdos and drunks who would say creepy things. And that's foregoing all the shenanigans with the players.
NOTE: I'll always have a special place in my heart for the player who told one of the girls he was in the SPHL on a "conditioning assignment" from his NHL team. Apparently it works, who knew?
Anyway, I think this idea in Windsor reeks of epic fail. Can you imagine if the Spitfires did this in the old barn? Now that I'd pay to see.
As always - questions, comments, compliments, complaints, threats etc: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @loosepucks
And in honour of former Plymouth Whalers goaltender Nathan West, who played cheerleader Jan in the classic movie: Bring It On.
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