Sharks Face Backlash From Fans For Recruiting "Ice Girls" As Part Of Co-Ed "Ice Team"
The Sharks are "not backing down from their plan to recruit 'ice girls' to help clean the playing surface during each game despite a backlash from a segment of their fan base," according to David Pollak of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. One fan, using the Twitter handle SharksFanTX, wrote, "Fans take pride in the Sharks not objectifying women. Please keep the Tank a family environment." The Sharks in defending the decision "stress that they are assembling an 'ice team,' which -- like the present maintenance crew -- will include men and women." Sharks COO John Tortora said, "We are not modeling our ice team in the same manner as other teams do in the NHL or other professional sports teams with cheerleaders. We're doing it in a way that works for us within our game experience and that is tasteful for San Jose." Pollak noted responsibilities range from "removing the accumulated slush nine times each game to leading cheers to going out into the community as team representatives." Ice girls' outfits vary throughout the league -- "some are revealing, others more modest -- but all seem to put a premium on fit figures and attractive faces." The uniforms shown on the Sharks' website "would be among the more modest." But Tortora said that "no decision has been made on what the ice team will wear, and there probably will be more than one style as participants will take part in community events as well as arena duties" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 7/13). Pollak noted Tortora will "aim for something less revealing or more appropriate for something in this market." Ice girls to a lot of political progressives "are another form of the objectification of women and that’s not a good thing" (MERCURYNEWS.com, 7/13).