SBD/Issue 31/Franchises

Oilers To Become First Canadian NHL Team With Cheerleaders

Some Oilers Fans Not Happy
About New Cheer Team

The Oilers are "getting set to entertain fans in a new way with the first Canadian cheerleading team in the NHL," according to Pamela Roth of the EDMONTON SUN. The team recently announced that it "will be hosting auditions for a cheer team at the end of the month," and the cheerleaders "will make their big debut during a home game later this year." Oilers President & CEO Patrick LaForge after "attending several American NHL games that had cheerleaders in the stands" said that the Oilers "wanted to create a cheer team of their own to enhance the entertainment." LaForge said that the cheerleaders "will be located in the concourse areas and select locations in the upper bowl." They will "perform during all home games, travel locally and participate in community events." An Edmonton Oilers Cheer Team Calendar "will also be launched during the holiday season." There are "23 teams in the NHL that already have cheer teams" (EDMONTON SUN, 10/22).

NOT CHEERING: In Calgary, Valerie Fortney wrote, "There's just one glitch to the Edmonton Oilers' announcement this week that they'll soon be adding a cheer squad to their club: a good number of their fans find the idea revolting enough that they're revolting themselves, against it." Less than 48 hours after LaForge "announced 'a little extra spice and sparkle' would soon be added" to the franchise, fan forums and newspaper chat boards "exploded with outrage"  (CALGARY HERALD, 10/23). In Edmonton, Jeff Cummings reported Oilers fan Lisi Monro has started an "online petition against the idea." She said that a cheer team "would ruin the longtime traditional experience" at Rexall Place, and the "sight of scantily clad cheerleaders on the ice is not part of the hockey culture in Canada." Most Edmonton Sun readers "seem to be in agreement," as roughly 57% of respondents in an online poll "voted against the idea of having an Oilers cheer team" (EDMONTON SUN, 10/23). At presstime, 870 had signed Monro's petition (THE DAILY).

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