Did a Spirit Stick Doom the Texas Stars Ice Girls?

The Texas Stars recently announced that after four seasons, the Texas Stars Ice Girls would be replaced by a co-ed squad called the Texas Stars Ice Patrol. In the press release, Stars president Rick McLaughlin said,

The new Ice Patrol team allows us to expand what we have done with the Ice Girls in the past. Opening the squad up to both men and women gives more people the opportunity to become a part of our entertainment team. Plus, the Ice Patrol will have the ability to be involved with many different aspects of our in-game experience, leading to more face time with our fans.

Little-known fact: I was the first contestant at the Cedar Park Center ever to win at ‘Card Sharks’ during a so-termed in-game experience. It was during an 18 March 2010 game vs the Milwaukee Admirals. Texas held a 4-1 lead deep into the third. Then, perennial “Top 10 NHL Draft Busts” listee Hugh Jessiman made things interesting by assisting on an Andreas Thuresson goal then adding one of his own in the span of about 80 seconds. It wouldn’t be enough– Stars win 4-3.

Card Sharks

I knew I would be playing Card Sharks on the Jumbotron that night so I wore one of my jerseys from my days playing minor hockey. Go Tri-Valley!

Ice Girls

Playing Card Sharks was also my first and last direct contact with any Ice Girl, even though they performed throughout every home game about three feet away from my seat. It’s not that I dislike women, or that I disliked the idea of Ice Girls at hockey games. As a man twice their age I just disliked the idea of appearing creepy.

So I can’t say I greet the news of their termination with any great sorrow, or any great emotion at all really. With all due respect, I don’t really care. But I do wonder what other reasons drove this decision, if any, and whether it is all a set-up for a much worse scenario.

High Turnover

For four seasons, the only thing that was constant about the Ice Girls was that their numbers seemed to decline over the course of the season. In September ten would be announced as the new squad, and at the final home game maybe six would be there, and at least one or two weren’t even among the original ten. Attrition is common in almost every job, so perhaps some of this is to be expected. However, rumor is also common in every job, and the many rumors over the years involved far too many player-Ice Girl hook-ups (which was forbidden) and the alleged discovery of at least one Ice Girl moonlighting at a local strip club, among other salaciously unsavory stories.

Perhaps this is one reason why the Stars went and hired a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader to manage the Ice Girls, as that renowned squad is also famous for maintaining a chaste image. Nonetheless, this doesn’t seem reason enough to can the squad.

Unwanted Attention

Aaryn Griess

Aaryn Griess, pre Big Brother

Cheer teams are supposed to be seen and heard. But they’re supposed to be seen and heard cheering the team and having their pictures taken with fans; putting on the cheer-y persona, in other words. And maybe it doesn’t matter to Texas what kind of infamy an Ice Girl can create for herself on national television, so long as she is a former Ice Girl.

Current Big Brother house guest Aaryn Griess, whose racist remarks and other deplorable behavior have made her a member of that club of America’s most-despised reality show contestants, was a Texas Stars Ice Girl.

But she is only negatively impacting her own image; the Stars can’t possibly be too bothered their former association with Griess.

The Spirit Stick

Spirit sticks are given out mostly at cheerleading summer camps to squads who exemplify what it means to be ‘spirited’ in the cheerleading sensibility. The movie Bring It On prominently featured not only a spirit stick but also a superstition associated with it: Receiving the stick is both blessing and curse—it rewards a squad for their spirit and hard work, but should they drop it and should it touch the ground—the squad will be cursed with a horrible cheer year.

The very last Ice Girls feature on the Texas Stars website ran on 1 March 2013, and it introduced the Texas Stars Impact Stick, as well as the first recipient of the stick. After consulting with two former cheerleaders who cheered in the state of Texas (one being my wife, reminding me again of her status as a National Cheerleading Association (NCA) champion), I can find no discernible difference between an Impact Stick and a Spirit Stick.

Well take a look at the picture included with that feature:

Impact Stick

The Impact Stick is almost assuredly touching the ground. The Texas Stars Ice Girls, officially disbanded, are poised to have a most terrible 2013-14 cheer year.

Coincidence?

Like I said before, I really don’t care.

My biggest concern is that the Ice Patrol is actually a program meant to find, groom, and then slowly ease a furry, ridiculous mascot onto this team.

And I do not want a damn mascot.

Ross Bonander
Ross Bonander is a freelance health writer and quotations editor. He is the editor of 12 quotation collections, including Hockey Talk, a collection of memorable hockey quotes, as well as collections focusing on Mario Lemieux, Patrick Roy, Steve Yzerman and Mike Modano. He also writes extensively about blood cancers and other health issues. His homepage is RossBonander.com.
Ross Bonander
Challenge yourself with this read MT What It’s Like to Date a Horse http://t.co/zLJBOmZLRI via @thescienceofus - 6 hours ago
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11 Comments

  1. Who was that “gorgeous” brunette Ice Girl a few seasons
    ago that all the guys liked? Outside of her “uniform”
    she was as cold as ice. I wonder whatever happened
    to her. I mean, no wonder she became an Ice Girl, right?

  2. The Ice Girls looked like a bunch of half naked prostitutes out there. Once there Ice Girl gigs are done they are very aloof, I’ve found out. It kinda reminds me of those girls in high school, you know the pretty ones, who would talk and be really nice to the homely looking guys ‘cuz they felt sorry for them. I mean, who needs that, right? BTW, how does everyone here feel about the mini bobbleheads? That was my idea. I brought the idea up to Rick McLaughlin a coupla seasons ago and I guess they followed through on it. :-) Wayne

    • Well, they are supposed to be professionals, so they are supposed to smile, make you feel welcome, put on a good image, entertain the fans during the slow times, and pump up the crowd. I’m pretty sure you aren’t supposed to expect anything beyond that. I mean seriously, that poor hostess at Chili’s must really not live up to your expectations.

  3. I’m glad the Ice Girls are gone.
    I wish Dallas would do the same thing.
    I’m all in favor of having the co-ed
    Ice Patrol.

  4. Huh…so…ok I agree that being a mid-aged guy (and husband, and dad) felt a little creepy around the Ice Girls. But I think that the staff of black-shirts (“Ice Patrol”) that have replaced them are one step above Cedar Park Center maintenance staff in terms of image. If you saw them on the concourse I guarantee you would not be able to tell the difference. At least I haven’t noticed them. I’m not a season ticket holder, but we do go probably 8 to 10 times per year, and we go as much for the show as the game. I think the show is much less show-y this year, which is a shame.

    Oh, and yes, we all get excited when the cheeseburger blimp floats near.

  5. Ross,
    I completely disagree! First, the Ice Girls did a lot of Good Will outside the ice arena, which in turn painted a Good Community Organization for the Stars. I had the pleasure of meeting and playing golf with a few of them at the Charity Golf tournament. The ones that I met were working their way thru college, some wanted to move up to the pros, just like the hockey players.

    I think your wife will agree, that Cheer Groups and specially the good ones, do a lot for the organization, (ever heard of PR?) Cedar Park is far from Austin and feet away from suburbia. Kids and specially little girls felt connected to the team/organization thru the Ice Girls.

    My wife and I have had Partial season tix for years and upgraded to glass for the 13-14 season. We were sad to hear the news and then saw the new “troop” at pre-season…talk about a travesty.

    With all the player changes in the offseason and then this, I bet you it is going to come back to bite them. My wife and I already agreed this will be the last year for season tix…Oh, FYI COTA offers a full one year modeling contract to their girls and not to mention the international exposure!

    • Elio-
      Please forgive me for not seeing your comment until now. You make a lot of very good points including the fact that the squad was as much a developmental squad for the girls looking to land other, better gigs as they work their way up.

      It’s now February and while I don’t think the decision has come back to bite the Stars, I do think that the new ‘troop’ brings next to nothing to in-game entertainment, and they certainly haven’t developed identities. In other words, they have been a poor replacement.

  6. I don’t care what you do as long as you don’t get rid of the flying cheeseburger!!!! That thing is the best!

    • At first I’m like ‘what is he talking about?’ but yeah I agree. And the fact that it drops coupons that are actually usable is great. ‘Free half-pound burger’ beats ‘free fries with purchase of …’. They do that, and people won’t fight nearly as hard over them.

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