Photo Credit: NHL.com

The (in)famous Islanders Ice Girls will not be joining the team as they move west to their new home in Brooklyn.  On October 9th the Islanders will take on the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks at the Barclays Center however, a long-time on-ice presence will be missing.  In recent years there has been a flurry of controversy surrounding the NHL and their various ice crews.  Reports of the harsh conditions that these women are forced to work under and the poor treatment they receive from the organizations have surfaced across the internet.  With all that said, am I sad that the Islanders are leaving the Ice Girls behind? In short…no.

While obviously every team needs an ice crew, I always felt that the Ice Girls were gimmicky and cheapened the image of the team.  With their various outfit changes throughout the course of a season, they always appeared to be more about putting on a show than clearing off the ice. When watching games at other arenas it was evident that other teams had their ice cleared off in a fraction of the time it took the Ice Girls to do it.  From a financial stand point the marketing and promotion dollars could be better spent on things to better the team’s image and help to raise us out of being a “second rate” franchise.  Overall, I am hoping that the team follows in the footsteps of the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers.  I have observed both teams’ ice crews in person and they are fast, professional, and do not detract from the game and feeling of being in a hockey arena.

With the move to Brooklyn, it will be even harder for the team to compete now as they are even closer to both the Devils and inter-state rivals, the New York Rangers. The removal of the Ice Girls squad is just one of many steps the team can take to help revamp the Islanders image among New York sports fans and NHL fans alike.   This is a chance for the team to take itself more seriously as an organization and to create a better experience for fans.

Marissa Greenberg has a B.A. in Communications with a minor in Arts and Entertainment Management from Pace University in New York City. She got her start in journalism at the age of fourteen, having her own radio show and interviewing bands for her high school radio station.. A long time Islanders fan, she was hooked after attending her first game at the age of seven. Marissa has worked for the New Jersey Devils and NBC and is currently in charge of all things social media for the Official New York Islanders Booster Club.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Oops…I hit enter before my full comment was submitted, so I’m trying again:

    I was glad to see the Islanders move in this direction. I’m a female who loves to skate, though I need to get better, and I was thinking of going out for my AHL team’s ice crew. Part of the reason why is because the team wears track suits, even the one female on the crew! She even said herself she would refuse to wear a dress or anything form fitting to do her job. Our team gets it right: have people out there who can skate and don’t put much, if any, weight into who can look cute in the uniform. I remember being so disappointed when the Pens got a co-ed ice crew, but the girls are still the typical “ice girl” model with the perfect blonde hair, perfect makeup, thin bodies and not much skating ability to speak of. Sigh.

    • Carolina has a co-ed ice crew as well! All track suits (and helmets!), and they seem to be very quick skaters. The cheer squad almost never gets on the ice (although it’s mildly co-ed as well with two guys), and while the girls do have form fitting uniforms, they’re probably the most conservative and covering in the league.

    • Thanks for the comment, Alison! Personally, I am looking forward to what I think will be the inevitable shift to complete equality in ice crews across the NHL and AHL! Hopefully teams will start to take notice of the organizations who have gotten it right so far and will follow suit!

  2. The NYI Ice Girls seem to get hammered pretty uniformly when it comes to conversations about everything that’s wrong with cheer leading in professional sports. Granted, there’s a looooot of issues with many of the NFL teams treatment of their cheer squads, but that’s lame-o football and we’re talking awesome hockey.

    Can someone track down some of the current and maybe past Islander Ice Girls (and maybe some from other teams), and interview them on their experiences, why they wanted to take that position, the pluses and minuses of the job, and how they felt during their day to day work lives?

    (Side note: A few years ago before a Hurricane’s game, the organization honored the Storm Squad members for their 10th anniversary, tracked down everyone they could who had done it in recognition and announced what they had gone on to do. One would have gone to start an event planning business, the next opened a nail salon, and next one to her became a brain surgeon, so you never know!)

    Thanks Ms. Greenberg, keep up the good work!

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