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.