One of the best innovations that Southern teams have brought to NHL hockey are cheerleaders in the stands during the games. While this tradition was already prevalent in College hockey it is believed that the Carolina Hurricanes Storm Squad was the first of its kind in the NHL.
Which brings us to last night’s game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Carolina Hurricanes. As I watched the game one couldn’t help but notice the Carolina Hurricanes Storm Squad. (the camera panned to them every opportunity it got)
So as the Penguins proceeded to blow out the Hurricanes I began to wonder what it takes to become a cheerleader in the NHL? Is it easy or difficult? Do they need to have an intensive Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader “Making the Team” type show? And what exactly do they do once they’ve attained the job?
Luckily I stumbled across the Atlanta Thrashers web site and they are currently holding tryouts for the 2009-2010 Blue Crew.
So what does it take to become a member of the Atlanta Thrashers Blue Crew? As far as I can tell there are four requirements for the job, namely;
1) Must be at least 19 years of age prior to auditioning;
2) Must be a high school graduate or have a G.E.D.;
3) Must have a part-time, full-time job, or be a college student;
4) Must have $25 for the registration fee.
That seems pretty straightforward. Once you qualify, the next round of selection begins with two weeks of interviews, workouts and evaluations.
Wednesday, May 13th – Orientation/Registration/Ice Time – 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 14th – Business Interviews – 10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
Thursday, May 14th – Fitness Evaluation – 4:00-9:30 p.m. (Three groups)
Friday, May 15th – Business Interview – 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
Friday, May 15th – Media/Rules & Regulations/Uniform Try-on – 6:00-10:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 16th – Improv Session – 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 17th – Skate Drills – 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Friday, May 22nd – Announce Team Online
Wednesday, May 27th – First Official Team Meeting (Mandatory) 6:00-9:00 p.m.
Once the group is narrowed further the selection committee designates the new Blue Crew squad whose responsibilities include cleaning the ice surface during stoppages in play and between periods, assisting with in-game promotions and interacting with the crowd to improve the in-game experience for Thrashers fans.
And lest you think that it’s just Atlanta and Carolina that have Cheerleading squads, you would be quite wrong as this trend has spread throughout the NHL.
Tampa Bay Lightning
New York Islanders
So what do you think of this Southern tradition? Good or bad for hockey? Sound off in the comments section below.