Friday, April 27, 2007

Give Ice Girls the Cold Shoulder

The boys over at OnFrozenBlog have revitalized the debate about one of my least favorite things, the Ice Girls - buckle your seatbelts, word on the street is that they're coming to DC. Rather than clog their blog with my soapbox rants I figured I should use my own space and my own captive audience. Oh, you lucky people you...

I've made no secret of the fact that the idea of Ice Girls makes me nauseous. Women hired to either "clean" the ice or lead cheers in the stands all while wearing midriff-baring tops and short's just a disgusting, sexist display. Not to mention the fact that it's impractical - don't they get cold? If they're really Ice Girls, shouldn't they be wearing down parkas and snow pants?

Someone commented on OFB that the Verizon Center could use a little atmosphere, that the arena needs something to get rid of the "cemetary" moniker that has so often been attributed to ye olde phone booth. I actually couldn't agree more. If you go to Caps games frequently, you know that when the Horn Guy and Goat do their thing, the crowd responds...for a moment. It's an amazing phenomenon to behold; one minute the arena is echoing with the chants of "Let's Go Caps", the next minute you can hear the conversations going on down on the ice. It's like people need to be told when to cheer or else they sit on their hands.

The problem I have is with the idea that the organization should do anything to correct this, especially when that anything includes degrading women for the sake of a few cheers. And what message do you then send to the little girls who fill the stands right alongside their male counterparts? That men belong on the ice playing hockey, while women belong on the ice merely to clean it and provide a little eye candy for the menfolk? Might as well tie the apron on them and send them right into the kitchen now, the '50s are back.

It honestly bothers me, and I'm running low on ways to show my disappointment with this growing trend. I love this team too much to be turned away by something like Ice Girls, and I'm not going to stop going to games because of it, as much as I would love to stand up and make such a statement. I'm just not that I doubt it would make much of a difference. I'm sure that's what the organization is banking on - that there will be some disapproval, but not enough to hurt the fan base. I'll tell you this much, though; I'll damn sure bitch about it ad nauseum here, because it's just wrong and people should know that it's wrong.

(By the way, I get that men like to look at beautiful women; I like to look at beautiful men, it's natural. But I hate when the women are pranced around in skimpy outfits. For some reason it's okay for the men to drool over them and make inappropriate comments. When I so much as casually mention a certain hockey player is hot, suddenly I'm a puckbunny. Double standard, thy name is sports.)

Look, if you want to liven up the atmosphere at VC, bring in a co-ed troop of cheerleaders - college-aged kids, male and female, to whip up the crowd. If the women are good-looking, fine; if the men are good-looking, fine. If the whole darn group could compete in the Ugliest Dog competition and win, FINE. Just make them energetic, enthusiastic and if possible, excited about hockey. I promise if you trolled the many college campuses that are sprinkled throughout this city you'd find at least a handful of kids who could use some extra cash and who love hockey. Bring in these kids and their youthful energy and get the crowd into it - this team is exciting to watch and deserves at least that much.

Just leave the halter tops and the mini-skirts out of if you'll excuse me, I have to go put on some pearls and bake a pie.


Sarah said...


I couldn't agree more. One of the best things about hockey is the fact that there are not scantily clad gals running around. I thought it only happened in Southern expansion arenas where ice is usually only found in your tea. Unfortunately, sports are catering to the male fan base and that's what sells.

Sarah (Canadian Reporter)

Chris said...

I like apple, or mince meat. Cherry would be nice too.

But seriously, how much more pandering to the so called "American" audience does the league and the various franchises have to do?

Growing up in the vast snow covered frozen wasteland of Canada, you never saw cheerleaders at hockey games dressed in anything less than heavy sweaters and sweat pants. (mind you the only heat source in the local arenas was the lights and the coffee pot) And it didn't make the games any less enjoyable.

This ranks right up there with the Fox puck dot to help viewers follow the play.

And do we really think that this is going to sell more tickets? Especially here in DC, where the hockey fan base is so split up amongst many different NHL teams other than the Caps? And in a city where each of the major professional sports leagues has a franchise? I don't think so.

Margee said...

I just hope no one spits on your Ice Girls. Poor Madison/Chanel/Misti didn't deserve that fate. The Syosset Ford ice Girls will never be the same.

george said...

this is one i would really love to bend Ted Leonsis's ear about if i ever had the chance. i understand their logic, but i sincerely doubt that some Miss Teen America reject in spandex is going to solve the franchise's game attendance woes. as a woman, i'm admittedly biased on my disdain towards the entire idea of the 'ice girl'. regardless of that fact, i still believe that their entire presence on ANY team in the game denegrates both the team itself and the great sport of hockey.

maybe that sounds a little dramatic, but to draw an analogy: in 2004, when the Boston Red Sox finally won the Series again after 86 years, i don't remember seeing anyone with pompoms in navy blue daisy dukes and a halter top with a red 'B' embossed on it, prancing around by the dugout or running onto the field next to Tim Wakefield to jump in the victory pile.

and i would hope when the Caps finally win the Cup, that no one in the stands is there simply to oggle some bimbo who took a couple of ice skating lessons and knew how to strategically place 3 red, white, and blue stars to best show off her 'assets'. (no pun intended).

of course, if i said this to Ted, i would obviously leave out some of the adjectives. and the hostility.

but please, this is hockey, not hooters.

hockeygirl said...

And what message do you then send to the little girls who fill the stands right alongside their male counterparts?

So true. In all of our discussions about Ice Girls, I'm not sure this one has come up before.

DCSportsChick said...

Great post, CC. George summed it up best: "this is hockey, not hooters."

KMS2 said...

Couldn't agree more. Apparently the Ducks have them because I heard Pronger on the radio saying that someone once said to him, "you have some hot janitors." Thankfully the Kings don't have them. We have a co-ed group of college-aged looking kids in jerseys and jeans throwing free shirts into the stands; what do you know, it really gets the crowd going!

The Wanderer said...

Ugh. Ice girls? Seriously? First of all if they think that a few girls in barely there outfits are going to provide atmosphere it makes me wonder what kind of atmosphere they are going for. Second of all this is hockey, not football, and an ice rink not a hooters. Leave us our game please.

Anonymous said...

Is this really going to happen? It is just wrong. The two don't mix ... give me a break.

Anonymous said...

I'm a woman and I love the ice girls, sometimes they are more interesting to watch than the B's. There is nothing wrong with admiring a sexy hot young lady, and anyone who thinks otherwise is probably fat and ugly.

CapsChick said...

There is nothing wrong with admiring a sexy hot young lady, and anyone who thinks otherwise is probably fat and ugly.

Hmm. The fact that you say that makes me think that you're not, as you say, of the female variety. However even if you are, may I remind you that I never said there was anything wrong with people admiring the opposite sex...or the same sex, if you so choose. I can appreciate when a woman is beautiful the same way I can appreciate when a man is good-looking. I get that beauty is nice to look at and I'd be lying if I said I really wanted to see guys on TV or in movies who looked like my next door neighbor.

My complaint is that it has no place in hockey, a sport that appeals to more women than most of the other professional leagues. And the fact that a lot of men seem to agree tells me it's not just a feminist issue or a case of the women who complain being "fat and ugly". It adds nothing to the atmosphere; in fact it sends a bad message to the little girls who grow up as hockey fans. It serves no purpose than to give some beer-swilling gorilla a chance to drool, hoot and holler over a sexy woman - you know, just so he doesn't get bored scratching himself during stoppages in play. You want that, go to a strip club. Hell, go to a football game.

As for Ice Girls being more interesting to watch than the B's? I hate to say it, but watching paint dry is more interesting than the B's at times. Setting the bar that low won't convince me that Ice Girls bring anything of value to hockey, sorry.