If you watch much Football or Basketball, you’ll start to notice that each team in the NFL and NBA has their own cheerleading squad to cheer on the team. But what about the NHL?
Do NHL teams have cheerleaders? Yes. Some NHL teams do have cheerleaders. However, they are referred to as “ice girls” and their roles are drastically different when compared to cheerleaders in other leagues like the NBA and NFL.
What do ice girls do?
Unlike cheerleaders in other sporting leagues, NHL “ice girls” perform more tasks than just dancing.
On ice duties
An ice girls main job during an NHL game is to go out onto the ice with shovels and buckets to gather all the snow that has accumulated during the period, and get rid of it. This is generally done during a stoppage of play several times a period.
If a player scores a hat trick, the ice girls are then sent out to the ice to gather all the hats thrown down onto the ice surface by fans.
Sometimes during NHL games, weird things get thrown onto the ice. Like in Nashville, for example, sometimes a catfish is thrown onto the ice. This tradition first started in 2003 in response to Detroit Red Wings fans throwing octopus on the ice.
Yeah, hockey is weird.
Off ice duties
Not all ice girls quads are assigned on-ice duties during a game, there are a few different off ice roles each squad has during the course of a hockey game.
Many NHL teams, like the Dallas Stars for example, have designated dance stations for the girls to entertain the crowd between plays.
It’s also not uncommon for ice girls to lineup in the isles between sections to help lead the fans in a cheer. They are also used to sometimes hand out free merchandise and launch things like t-shirts into the crowd.
If you’ve ever been to an NHL game, you may have even noticed the girls greeting you upon arrival into the arena.
Another job they do is following the team around to corporate and community events. Visiting nursing homes, hospitals, schools, etc.
Who was the first NHL team to have ice girls
During the 2000-01 NHL season, the New York Islanders became the first team in the NHL to have ice girls. Prior to this, NHL ice crews consisted mostly just men who did not perform the same roles as the ice girls we see today.
This started an avalanche like effect, the following season the Dallas Stars joined the Islanders and became the second team in NHL history to have an ice girls squad.
Unfortunately, in 2015, the New York Islanders dismissed their historic ice girl squad in favor of a co-ed group that would take on much of the same responsibilities.
Do all NHL teams have ice girls
Not all NHL teams have followed suit and created their own programs. It seems as the years go by, more teams are actually dropping their ice girl programs in favor of more family friendly co-ed ice crews.
There are currently 13 out of 32 teams in the NHL who currently have an ice girls program.
- Los Angeles Kings (ice crew)
- Nashville Predators (Energy team)
- Dallas Stars
- Anaheim Ducks (Power players)
- Chicago Blackhawks (ice crew)
- St. Louis Blues (Blue crew)
- Columbus Blue Jackets (ice crew)
- Colorado Avalanche
- Tampa Bay Lightning (Bolts Blue Crew)
- Carolina Hurricanes (storm squad)
- Florida Panthers (roar corps)
- Phoenix Coyotes (Coyotes crew)
- Vegas Golden Knights (Knights guard)
This is down from 21 NHL teams in 2013.
How much do NHL ice girls make?
The average wage of an NHL ice girl is $15.00 an hour. They typically see 10-30 hour per week, which means in one week they take home between $150-$450.
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What’s up! I’m Shayne, and I’ve been immersed in the world of winter sports since before I could walk. My dad was a hockey player who had a passion for snowmobiling, which he passed down to me, and my mom was a figure skater who loved to take us on snowboarding and skiing trips as kids. Safe to say, I’ve learned so much about most winter sports over the years and have a passion for passing on my knowledge to others, as my parents did with me.