Last week, the Flyers' ice crew took to the rink without the lightly dressed women fans had come to expect. The crowd booed. The Flyers were listening, because during last night's preseason game, they announced the ice girls would return. The crowd, and at least one beat writer, went nuts:
Many suspect the Flyers' initial call to cut the ice girls came as a reaction to a Mother Jones article that described low pay and crappy work conditions similar to those that have spurred multiple lawsuits from NFL cheerleaders in recent months. It's not clear what led Philly to reconsider—we have a query in with the team—but it seems it'll be a brand-new squad, since tryouts will be held this weekend.
The whole idea of cheerleaders and ice girls seems kind of pointless—surely most fans can survive one whole game without getting a boner—but let's hope they at least do it right this time. No more paying $50 for a seven-hour workday, like the Flyers did as of last season, and no more outfits that make it physically uncomfortable to do the job. From that Mother Jones piece:
Some teams, including the Flyers, have co-ed ice crews, but the men aren't wearing booty-shorts and crop tops. And while most games are held indoors, teams and their cheer squads sometimes participate in outdoor games and events. In early 2012, the Flyers took part in a three-day outdoor festival and game called the Winter Classic. "It was 20 degrees and we were in shorts, with two pairs of stockings," a former ice girl told me. Depending on the day, they spent six to nine hours outdoors: "It really felt like we were in some kind of torture camp." Said another: "I've never been so cold in my life."
The Flyers women agreed that they weren't too cold out on the ice during regular games—they had to skate around for a few minutes in scant clothing, but they were full of adrenaline and could don a jacket when they left the ice. The bigger issue was "doing doors"—greeting fans as they entered the stadium. "When we're standing at doors for an hour and it's zero degrees and the doors keep opening," said one woman, "that's my biggest bone to pick."