ice sluts? maybe not, but. . .

The Penguins announced yesterday that they will be introducing an “Ice Crew” at the CEC.
The pitch sounds innocuous enough, and even suggests that men and women will be given equal consideration:

The Pittsburgh Penguins will introduce a skating “Ice Crew” for the 2010-11 season – a team of energetic girls and guys who will help clean the ice, interact with fans and take part in other promotional activities.

Putting the crew on skates will add a new level of excitement to the Penguins’ game presentation as the team enters a new era at CONSOL Energy Center.

“We’ll be looking for energy, athleticism and passion for the Penguins,” said James Santilli, the team’s vice president of marketing. “We think it’s a great way for fans to get even more involved with Penguins hockey and help make games at CONSOL Energy Center an even greater entertainment experience.”

Okay, whatever. There is a certain level of crap that we will put up with from people who work in marketing.
However, the audition dates for dudes haven’t even been scheduled, leading us to believe that they’ll probably just add some nonthreatening types on at the end if they can’t fill all of roster spots on the crew with girls.

There are NO specific height and weight requirements; however our uniform demands a lean and tone figure. Being physically fit is a part of the athletic, high-energy Pittsburgh Penguins Ice Crew image.

Translation: if you have curves, gtfo. Only skinny people have energy and passion. Here is a list of requirements for the ice crew:

Skating or figure skating technique
Ability to skate in hockey skates
Striking appearance
Physically fit (lean & toned)
Energetic and outgoing personality
Communication skills
Hockey knowledge

“Hockey knowledge” comes last. But if you do apply, they do want to know if you have modeling experience:


Applicants must wear a midriff bearing top (crop/bra top), yoga/dance pants, HOCKEY skates (if you don’t own them, you will be able to rent hockey skates), jacket and athletic shoes.

Translation: We’re probably judging your boobs.

Find a hairstyle that compliments your natural beauty. Hair needs to be styled and worn all down. Make-up should be tasteful – wear makeup that flatters you. Nails should be painted a French manicure or a neutral shade of polish.

wtf on this one. No idea.

If you’re interested in these shenanigans, more information is here and here.

We had a long rant written about how ice girls were damaging to the organization’s image and spread a negative sexual message to fans, especially young girls who have an interest in hockey.
We also questioned the decision to make a change to the ice crew, seeing as the old ice crew seemed plenty capable and professional, and this just seems gimmicky. I mean, weren’t all the Pens games going to be sold out anyway without ice sluts?

Now: Pensblog broke the info that the ice crew will be not a group of “ice girls” like you’d see in other hockey markets, but an extension of the Pens Patrol.
We’re familiar with the Pens Patrol girls, who dress (mostly) covered and are ideal footsoldiers for any marketing campaign because they have just the obnoxious, college-type personality required to approach strangers and ask them to do things or accept promotional material.
We totally understand needing high-energy people for the job, athletically capable people who can skate, whatever. Never mind that the old ice crew was mostly random dudes and some women in track jackets, who seemed nice enough.
From a marketing standpoint, though, do you really think were the Pens in danger of losing ticket sales or fan interest because they didn’t have a group of loud [Belegost]ers to entertain us during TV timeout?
And the worst part is that no matter how much this anonymous Penguins official that Pensblog spoke to says that these aren’t ice sluts, the organization has made it apparent that how you look in a crop top is a very important hiring point. The Penguins organization has instituted a “no fatties” policy, in essence–which seems unusual if they aren’t trying to sell sex appeal with this new ice crew, even if they state that sweatsuits will be worn. No matter how much you love the Penguins, female students of Pittsburgh, no matter how enthusiastic you are, no matter how bubbly your personality or willingness to do the work, or capability to do the work in terms of skating ability, physical ability, etc.–you’re probably not going to be able to get the job unless you’ve got a perfectly flat stomach. Sorry, hockey (and hockey operations) aren’t for everyone. And let’s not forget the weird manicure requirements. Jesus.

Basically, this still perpetuates a negative sexual message. Sure, you have to have an athletic background to play hockey at a high level, and you need like, a modicum of physical capability to clean the ice surface at a hockey arena. None of this has anything to do with your nails, how flat your tummy is when you pull your shirt up, or your makeup and hairstyle. And if they’re looking for an enthusiastic, likable fan crew, those things are equally irrelevant.
(Let’s not forget that Dustin Byfuglien is obese and he won a Stanley Cup. /burn)
Sorry, Pens organization, we’re not buying it.
James Santilli = officially on notice.
The fact remains that this bull[Nogrod] has nothing to do with the on-ice product so we have to wonder why it is so important to a hockey team’s vice president of marketing. Sell the game, not some girls who yell at you and throw t-shirts and spend their off-days at the gym so they can fit into that dress and go to Diesel.

It’s stupid, and sneaky.
We can’t say that enough.
Drop the puck already so we can care about something important.

anyone interested in writing James Santilli can e-mail  This e-mail was provided to us by a reader and we’re not sure if it works or not, but it’s the best line to them that we have at the moment.


About Zoë

from Fayette County, living in Boston, chronically fussy. Writing about the Penguins, the CWHL/women's hockey, and hockey/sports media criticism.