There are topics in the hockey world that get debated every off-season. Rule changes, relocations, hall of fame considerations, retirements, uniform designs...you name it, we all talk about it every year. It's how we keep ourselves entertained while our heroes are off resting their bruised and tired legs. Another such topic is the phenomenon known as the "ice girl", and it's still a relatively new one as far as the sport is concerned.
It's a fairly polarizing argument that often gets split down lines such as gender and age. The Dallas Stars themselves are firmly in the "pro" mindset as evidenced by their web site, which showcases the young ladies in all their scantily clad glory. Before the players start skating on their own in Frisco (any day now...) these hard workers are preparing and auditioning for the coming season...
Any visit to dallasstars.com these days will lead you directly to it (and thus me to this discussion topic, bereft of any real news to discuss).
The genesis of the concept is the cheerleader. A brief history of cheerleading would tell you that it was the University of Minnesota who introduced the concept at football games and that at it's inception, "cheer leading" was an all male activity. So there's some irony here.
In modern times, the cheerleader is as much a part of professional sports as is a frosty cold beverage (you know the kind I mean) and erectile dysfunction commercials. In the NFL they're cheerleaders. In the NBA they're "dancers," usually. In the NHL they're "ice girls." Somehow MLB has steered clear of all the rigmarole.
In Dallas the issue could be framed a number of ways. Is it an integral part of what is otherwise a decidedly family atmosphere? Is it too much of a break from nearly 100 years of NHL history? Is it harmless fun? Does the community outreach portion of it outweigh any minor annoyances?
Having a one year old (soon to be two) daughter has slightly altered my perception, but it always has been and probably will always be this: The ones on the ice with the shovels and the buckets: Fine. There's utility there. Plus I like to watch the opposing goaltender's mind wander as they clean up his area, so to speak. The ones on Stage 101 dancing... I could take 'em or leave 'em. As a guy who is up in the rafters charting line changes and special teams units, it doesn't add anything for me, personally.
Actually, that's not true. The unintentional comedy of a 13 year old boy giddily posing for pictures (with his eye level about chest high) will always be gold. The father of that same boy who takes the same liberty right after is another matter. Yeah, you know who you are. We've all seen you.
Having met several last year, and the woman who directs them (Wendy, I believe her name was) I can say that they're just genuinely nice people who are having fun performing a service that sometimes get a bad rap from the hockey community. Besides, we've all seen how much the players like them from time to time. TV cameras betray even the best of them.
So for a Wednesday morning conversation starter, what say you? Do they add to your experience at the AAC? Or not?