1372285889-blackhawks_fans

Shimmer Like A Girl

Obviously I was going to use a Veruca Salt reference. Sometimes this is easy for you to predict.

I’m a little late to the party on this, but I wanted to address it badly. Last week, Red Eye ran a piece about the Hawks and their relationship with their female fans. It included a anecdote about Casey Rathunde, you can follow her on Twitter @Raedances and you should because she’s my new personal hero for asking a tough question at the convention, asking the Hawks’ brass about the Ice Crew and other things related to their treatment of women and their female fans. Of course they gave it the boiler-plate, brush-off answer, which is what we should have expected. Probably would have gotten the same thing if anyone had asked about the continual shitty ice surface.

There’s obviously a lot of talk about women in sports, women as fans, and how they’re treated by the sports leagues. I’m going to do my best to not link this to the Ray Rice stuff, because that’s a topic that needs no debate and is just a disgusting event that everyone involved should be ashamed of (and some should be in jail, but I won’t be sitting on a hot stove waiting for that one).

The first thing about the Ice Crew is that as we’ve repeatedly said here they’re a symbol of total Hawks hypocrisy. Susannah Collins was fired for previous, somewhat raunchy work that the Hawks deemed wasn’t a fit with their image. And yet here comes the Ice Crew in those outfits that clearly aren’t meant to do anything other than please male fans. If they were the best conditioned for the actual job of scraping the ice, and I don’t know if they are or not, there really is no good reason they couldn’t just wear what the guys who do the same job wear. We clearly know what they’re there for, or at least what they’re dressed for.

I don’t know where this issue would lie if they were simply a promotional squad. Not cheerleaders per se, but just there at every road watch, promotional event inside and outside the stadium, and whatever else. Maybe it changes it a little, though I tend to doubt it. Certainly they wouldn’t be the first organization to use a gaggle of attractive women to help promote some event. Radio stations have been doing it for years. So have beer companies, and liquor companies. I guess I could go on and on.

There difference there is it’s a separate event. And they’re there to draw a crowd, which they do. You can think it’s sad that the idea of the Ice Crew appearing somewhere would cause a few fellas to go to whatever bar they are appearing at, and I’d like to believe that would never happen. But I’d like to believe a lot of things. Those events are also probably designed to draw in men, at least some are, whereas Hawks games are meant to draw in everyone.

The problem with the Ice Crew on the ice is that’s something people have paid to be at to watch something completely different. It’s as if the Hawks have told whatever percentage women make up the normal UC crowd, “Hey, we’ve got your money now, so we don’t really give a shit what you think now that we have it. We’ll do this now.” At least that’s how it sounds in my head.

However, it’s a more nuanced situation about marketing the game to your female fanbase and looking like you don’t care at all. I don’t think it’s quite as simple as some have made it out to be. Most female Hawks fans I know, and I know quite a few (even date one), just want to be treated like fans. They don’t want pink jerseys, they don’t want the game explained to them in some elementary way (and let’s face it, there are probably just as many male fans who need the game explained to them just as heavily), they don’t want a bunch of puff pieces about how good looking these players are instead of what they do on the ice and for the team (well, maybe the occasional one is ok). They just want to watch the game and have a few beers like the rest of us, or so I gather.

If the Hawks ran something like a “Ladies Night,” I’m guessing most female Hawks fans would find that insulting. Sure, it might be great for those who are a little intimidated coming to what is perceived as a male-dominated arena to be introduced to the fandom we love so dear. But it might smack of pandering.

What the Hawks should realize is that the Ice Crew, and trotting out whatever woman in the 100 Level that’s in the biggest heels for the shoot the puck, is basically a slap in the face to their most dedicated female fans. It doesn’t show a whole lot of awareness. At best it’s ignorant, at worst it’s a smugness in that they can get away with just about anything because they’re selling out the building.

The Hawks don’t have to cater to their female fanbase. They just have to not wave their figurative member in its face on occasion.

-As you know, I hate putting personal stuff on the blog, so you’ll just have to allow me this. There is simply no adjective I can come up with to express how thankful I am to all of you who have reached out this past week to send me your thoughts and care. There are so many I have no hope of responding to them all. I hope you’ll understand if I don’t get back to you, but know I saw them all and every single one helped in its way. I guess all I can say is thank you, but that hardly seems like enough. I know at times we the writers here have sparred with our readers, but it’s moments like this that make me realize how much I love and appreciate this community we have here. It means just as much to me as it does to you, if not more. Again, thank you.

  • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

    Good to have you back, Sam. I read your fine piece for Adam over at Cubs Den but didn’t comment there because I’m just not a baseball guy, and that’s obviously a forum of baseball guys for baseball guys. For me that’s not a lot different from a lawn maintenance forum (which is not a comment on the value of the game, just my interest in it). Anyway, yeah. Good to have you back and posting. Onward indeed.

    Good post, too. And you’re right, the primary blemish for me is the hypocrisy. This wasn’t your main point, but if you’re going to have these outfits for the females in the Ice Crew, then the males should be in speedos. And if something doesn’t sit right with that, then the same disjointed thoughts should be in your brain for the women.

  • ShotsFired

    You’re welcome and you’re also right on the money about Blackhawk management using sex to enhance the sale of their product. Not at all surprising with a flimflam man like McDonough in charge. All you have to do is remember his history with the Cubs.

    • chichicagochi

      Ice crew were on board before McDonough was

      • ShotsFired

        And they are still there.

  • I Remember The Roar!

    As a money hungry businessman, I’d read this article with a smile. It’s not the die-hard fans that they’re marketing to. Sports marketing isn’t about pleasing those that are already fans, it’s about bringing in those new fans (and not losing the current ones). Let’s face it, the majority of us love hockey and love the Hawks. We don’t attend games or support the team because we want to get the night’s giveaway (though we’ll probably get their early to make sure we get one!), we don’t go there to walk around the “beautiful facility” or get a Blackhawks fan cup to take home as a souvenir of our $12 beer… we go to watch hockey.

    If we really want these practices to stop, the number of fans that are lost because of them needs to outweigh the “fringe” fans that are brought in.

    • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

      You’re not going to lose any current fans if you take away the Ice Crew as they’re currently trotted out. You stand to gain fans by changing. It’s an antiquated perspective, to imagine that guys go to Blackhawks games because they can see girls in skirts and tights for six minutes, or that they’d stop going if they weren’t there.

      And I fucking hate shoot-the-puck … but I can understand a bit more from an “entertainment” perspective why girls with boots are chosen, and how guys see it as part of the “fun”. But again, you stand only to gain fans if, at the very least here, you provide eye candy for everyone, not just men. It’s just so jarring, the underlying message so ugly and dissonant … “Alrighty, families in attendance, here’s our 10-year-old boy’s turn. Oh, what fun, nice try, how about that shot. Now, for all you men in attendance who want to imagine fucking a young woman, here’s some leather boots and silicone.”

      • YoAdrienne

        I don’t mind the concept of “shoot-the-puck.” But, I don’t understand why it’s not open to everyone, rather than a kid a celebrity, and a woman in tight clothes and high heels from the 100 Level seats. Why not just pick kids, and then have whatever celebrity who’s in the house shoot? How hard is that? Or, assign each ticket or seat a number, and randomly draw the shooters. It’s not that difficult.

        As for the Ice Crew, I agree that they won’t lose any fans the Hawks do away with them. The Blackhawks are still the hottest ticket in town, and that won’t change if they ditch the Ice Crew. Back before the Dollar Bill days, they did a pretty good job of filling the stands without them. You’re right, Chico. People come to see the team play, not the girls in bikinis who scrape the ice for a few minutes every game. I don’t see the point to them.

  • The Nutbrown Hare

    I say this with a staunch record of heterosexuality, but I’ve always felt a bit repulsed by the idea of the Ice Crew. It is such a blatant, unnecessary pandering to drooling meatballs who want to ogle and leer at girls young enough to be their own daughters.

    And I don’t even have a word for the dudes that seek out these girls’ autographs on the concourse…it is just friggin’ weird.

    • raditzzzz

      is it the ice crew as a concept, or just how they are presented? because somebody has to remove those snow piles, and i think if they were wearing the standard trainer track suit, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. or would we?

      i guess i’ve always had a certain appreciation for what the ice crew does, mostly because they are actually performing a function (clearing snow banks), which is more than i can say about generic “eye candy” marketing by other sports. but that could be done without the skimpy outfits. put them in actual jerseys, and you actually make it way more team centric, and cool id say. otherwise go more professional with the track suits.

      the shoot the puck thing is just ridiculous, though. i literally roll my eyes after they bring out the kid and the goofy guy (all clad in hawk gear) only to settle on some skinny chick who has somehow made it to center ice in stilettos wearing no home team identification whatsoever. thats just the worst.

      • The Nutbrown Hare

        It is definitely the presentation of the Ice Crew that I find to be ridiculous. The ice most certainly needs servicing, and I have no objection to their function, the fact they’re girls, or even girls selected for their varying levels of attractiveness.

        Look, I’m a guy, and I most certainly have an appreciation for the opposite sex…I’m hardly a prude by any stretch of the imagination. I just don’t personally need to have T & A mixed with the sport I love to maximize my enjoyment of a broadcast or a night at the UC. And I’m not up on a soap box here either…I just recognize that the idea of the Ice Crew (not to mention the employment of a purported domestic abuser as a team ambassador) doesn’t really jive with the ‘family’ atmosphere the organization wants to shove down our throats while contradicting themselves in a myriad of very odd ways. It just starts to rings hollow after a while.

        By the way, I could be wrong, but didn’t the Ice Crew used to skate around with a bit more in the way of clothing when they were first introduced? I.e., jerseys, etc.?

  • birdhead

    Good piece, Sam. Thank you.

  • cliffkoroll

    Since you mention hypocrisy, I wonder if I could support an organization that engaged in behavior that I find as obnoxious as you find the Ice Crew.

    How about a boycott? Or maybe it’s just not that big a deal.

    • ahnfire

      You’re being a bit ridiculous, cliff. :P

      Just because you support a team/organization doesn’t mean you have to blanket-approve everything they do. Nor does your disapproval mean that you should deny everything about the organization. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

      • AirTrafficAJ

        I don’t have time for nuance! Just tell me if I should love or hate this!

    • http://www.thecommittedindian.com/ Matt McClure

      “Old White Man Not Sure What The Big Deal With Marginalization Is, Says ‘Not That Big A Deal’. Film at 10″

      • cliffkoroll

        “Hipster wrings hands, threatens even more earnest hand-wringing, until colossal injustice is rectified”

        • Andrew Cieslak

          Hipster = not a middle-aged redass?

          • Iaaarmer

            Hipsters can’t be defined because then they’d fit in a category, and thus be too mainstream.

        • http://www.thecommittedindian.com/ Matt McClure

          While the word “hipster” ultimately means nothing, that you think that it’s now cool and trendy to actually give a shit how people different from yourself are treated is vile and disgusting beyond words. In a thread of comments that is so gut-wrenchingly disappointing and embarrassing thinking that this is the demographic we write for and represent, once again you manage to stand out, so congratulations.

          You are no longer welcome here, which is something long overdue. Being inclusive does not mean having to countenance simply wrong, ignorant, and antagonistic opinions.

          • Guest

            I haven’t read every single comment here yet but I do take umbrage at your incessant eagerness to disparage the readers here. How many people made a comment that was ACTUALLY “gut-wrenchingly disappointing and embarrassing”? Maybe the truly offensive ones have already been removed? We get it, man. You hate the majority of people who comment on this site. I hate the majority of people I encounter every day as well but do show the good sense not to taunt those who support my work. You should consider it.

          • http://www.thecommittedindian.com/ Matt McClure

            Thank you for the advice. I will take it completely to heart. Your words are so thoughtful and mean so much to me.

          • Mike

            “vile”? “disgusting”? “gut-wretchningly disapponitning”?

            Wow. That’s some pretty heavy melodrama. Good thing you have perspective.

            And being inclusive *does* in fact mean having to countenance (what you deem to be) wrong, ignorant and anatgonistic opinions. That’s pretty much the defintion of being inclusive. You’re free to ban anyone like a common Al Yellon all you want; just don’t pretend you’re maintaining some sort of inclusive ethic in doing so.

          • http://www.thecommittedindian.com/ Matt McClure

            No, it does not. This place will be better off with his absence, and any of his ilk, you included.

      • MattC86

        Oh, I don’t know, McClure. Old straight white guys have a way of feeling pretty marginalized these days.

        “DON’T TAKE THESE PRIVILEGES I HAVE TAKEN AWAY FROM OTHERS AWAY FROM ME!”

      • Korab22

        *Eleven

  • biff torpedo

    Stick to hockey. This is silliness.

    • Joe DeTolve

      Then go read puff pieces on CSN.

    • guesthouse

      Leave it someone named Biff…

    • Andrew Cieslak

      STICK TO SPORTS WRITE ABOUT THINGS I LIKE.

      • Commit88

        Do you just go around replying to people who don’t agree with you? Isn’t that the point of a message board? You seem like you take this place way too seriously. It’s the internet, chill out dude.

        • Andrew Cieslak

          That’s what I’m doing this morning. Take it or leave it.

          • Commit88

            I lol’d.

    • http://www.armdancermedicalcenter.com Arm Dancer

      100%. The Hawks should stick to hockey, not prancing around half naked chicks for no discernable reason.

  • TRece

    As a female fan, I have to say that the Ice Crew ladies don’t bother me in the least and I dislike the shoot the puck contest all together. That said, I think the larger issue is the hypocrisy and both the original author and others point this out. If having the male ice crew out there in speedos or even just shirtless is an issue then having girls skate around with their butt cheeks and stomachs out should be as well. But it’s not, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Case and point, the Susannah Collins debacle, which still burns me up. It is that BS that makes me think poorly of the organization. Had it been a male commentator, they would not have even blinked at it. The double standard that exists in general is disgusting. I don’t think anyone would try to suggest that Susannah was hired for her impeccable hockey IQ or even general sports knowledge. Kustok and Myers are perhaps exceptions, but neither are exactly awful to look at. That sends a worse message, in my eyes, but it’s not directly under the Blackhawks name. The ice crew to me is just repurposed cheerleaders on skates, and it’s not a full time job (at least from what I understand, correct if wrong). So, I’d rather them focus on getting reporters around that are knowledgable and care about the sport – I guarantee they are out there – and not on having a pretty face. Ok – off soap box now.

  • Harry Longwood

    I started to type a long “devil’s advocate” response to these arguments, but honestly, I don’t think you’d have wanted to read it. Instead, I’ll say this: this situation will only change when Blackhawks’ management is convinced that the marginal potential revenue they’re losing from male and female fans who don’t attend games or buy merchandise specifically because they find the Ice Crew sexist outweighs the marginal actual revenue they’re collecting from (mostly) male fans who do attend and buy merchandise because there are attractive women in skimpy outfits shoveling slush during commercials.

    You can make all the moral and ethical arguments you want, but the Blackhawks are a business, and the only way to affect change in a business is to attach a financial incentive to do so.

    • ahnfire

      I disagree with the idea that there are male fans who attend & buy merchandise because of the Ice Girls. Even the ones who enjoy & see nothing wrong with the Ice Girls are likely not buying merch because there’s a girl in a skimpy outfit shoveling ice for a total of 3 minutes, but because the Hawks are a good team.

      I’d argue that you wouldn’t lose any prospective merchandise sales if you outfitted the girls in the same manner as the men. I think the only reason change isn’t being made is because the organization is being lazy about this. They don’t view it as a problem so they don’t bother addressing it. And now people are speaking up, saying we think this is a problem. I don’t think financial incentive is the only thing that can motivate change – I think if there’s enough positive PR to gain, McD will lean on Bud Light to change the Ice Crew costumes.

      • Harry Longwood

        I don’t disagree that the Hawks likely won’t lose all that much in concession sales by changing the Ice Crew outfits, but I imagine that the Hawks’ brass would. I don’t need convincing; they do.

        “I think if there’s enough positive PR to gain…” – good PR leads to more dollars from more consumer sales, higher advertising revenue, etc. It does boil down to financial incentive, if indirectly.

      • Beth

        Here’s a thought I hadn’t even entertained until seeing this comment. I’ve been to games where I’ve seen another woman wearing a shirt I like, and I’ll go down to the store and buy one for myself. If they happen to change the wardrobe requirements, and I see an ice crew member wearing something like a cozy looking fleece or jacket, it may convince me to buy one too. Could spark some merchandise sales?

        • Colbeagle

          This is the part that really gets me. Given how willing the organization has been to take our money in other areas, why on earth are the men and women on the ice crew not tricked out in the latest merch? They should announce it when they come out for the first time – ‘Tonight, the Bud Light Ice Crew is wearing the brand new Grey Paneled Men’s Zip-Up, the Ladies’ Sequin Logo Hoodie, and Blackhawks Tear-Away Track Pants in black and red! All available right now in the Fan Shop and online at chicagoblackhawks.com!’

          I mean, no one is buying spangled butt bandanas, but I will stop and check out any non-pink women’s merchandise. Hell, I’ll even check out the pink stuff. I like pink.

  • ToucanStubbs

    Honestly, it doesn’t bother me, not because I don’t support equality or whatever other cause you think this issue helps to trumpet. It doesn’t bother me because I see nothing wrong with people who enjoy showing off their bodies. Men in speedos? I wouldn’t like it but thats because I’m a straight male who doesn’t enjoy looking at men. I wouldn’t dislike it either because I’m sure someone else does, in fact, enjoy watching mostly nude men and I’m happy to allow them that pleasure.

    Lets face it, these women know full well what the job is and they do it willingly. No one is taking advantage of them. Plenty of people, male and female, are employed simply because they have bodies that people like to look at and why is there anything wrong with that? Hell, at least the ice girls are doing something productive (as far as the game of hockey is concerned) at the same time.

    If one of them comes out and says, “Hey, I thought I was just going to clean the ice and suddenly they threw this skimpy outfit at me. I didn’t want to do it but there was a lot of pressure and I’m not okay with it.” then I will be happy to champion her cause. But just because someone is offended by something doesn’t mean its wrong or inappropriate. Your body is definitely an asset and if you happen to make money using it in some way, all the more power to you.

    As an aside, there are a couple posts by people with the tag “Mod” next to their name. I’m not sure any of them are exactly professional.. Take that as you will.

    • guest

      While you are correct, your point is 100% tangential to the discussion at hand. Finding someone willing to do a job has no bearing on whether or not that job is worth doing.

      Let’s say a telemarketer calls you during dinner. You say to me, “I wish that telemarketer had not called me then.” I say to you, “The telemarketer knew what they were getting into! Nobody forced them to call you!”

      The problem isn’t that these women are being shanghaied or something, the problem is that the existence of their jobs is an insult to many fans.

      • http://www.twitter.com/JohnnyMadhouse JohnnyMadhouse

        The telemarketer analogy is flawed. The telemarketer is interrupting you in your home without prior consent; when you buy your ticket to the Hawks game, you know the Ice Girls are going to be there and buy your ticket in spite of that knowledge.

        • guest

          You’re moving goalposts.. your original argument revolved entirely around the consent of the ice girls to perform their jobs making it all unimpeachable. My analogy was meant to illustrate that a worker’s consent to do their job doesn’t mean I somehow have to like what they do. You seemed to have missed this, so I’ll take it as a win?

          Now, though, your argument is suddenly about whether or not the *fan* has consented to watch the ongoing ice-cleaning festivities. That’s fine, we can go there too. Note the several testimonials in this thread of “the first time I was at the game…” from women who were not aware of the displays before buying their tickets. Note also that buying a ticket despite something you disagree with happening in a building is a situation that I’m pretty sure every poster here has dealt with as far as a Q roster decision goes. Protip: the purchase of a product does not imply total agreement with every aspect of that product.

          • http://www.twitter.com/JohnnyMadhouse JohnnyMadhouse

            Are you sure you are reading my original argument? It’s in another thread, and I’m certain that I mention that, to my knowledge, some members of the Ice Crew DO in fact, love what they do.

            My point in responding to you is not that you are wrong about the Ice Crew being unnecessary, but you are going about making your argument the wrong way.

            edit to remove lies.

          • http://www.twitter.com/JohnnyMadhouse JohnnyMadhouse

            In my initial response I mentioned you referred to my comments as stupid, that was someone else, my apologies.

          • guest

            Ah jeez, sorry, I thought you were toucanstubbs when I wrote that reply. I can’t read and my snark drive is in overload. Confusion abounds. I’ve edited it to make it clear where I was going.

            I still maintain that how much you love your job has nothing to do with whether or not I can object to you doing it to me.

          • ahnfire

            That’s probably Disqus acting up. If you refresh, names & comments should be properly attributed.

          • http://www.twitter.com/JohnnyMadhouse JohnnyMadhouse

            You can definitely object to it being done to you. I guess my point was, you don’t know the telemarketer is going to be done to you (unless you want to take the stance that by owning a phone you are acknowledging you will be harassed by telemarketers)

            By going to the UC, you know, in advance you will be subjected to the Ice Girls.

            Again, not saying you’re wrong that they should be left out, but there are better reasons if you want to make that argument.

  • SAMCRO Outlaw

    I understand all sides regarding the Ice Crew and honestly don’t really care one way or the other, but if it’s really an issue for the majority of fans then I’d be easily swayed into their camp. I’ve just never given it an ounce of my hockey energy so I’m agnostic to it.

    I honestly can say that IMHO the playing of The Stripper for the women going to shoot the puck is far more insulting than a few young women cleaning the ice in uniforms that cover more than the average figure skater’s costume. It’s doubly insulting to me because they often have a young female fan on the ice who is dressed in her favorite player’s jersey like the vast majority of fans, then they bring out a woman to play who is inevitably wearing stripper shoes, very tight clothes, and overdone makeup and hair while playing that stupid song. I think that sends a far more negative & insulting message to the female fanbase than the Ice Crew does.

    I get that the shoot the puck thing is pretty much played out, but I think revamping it just for kids (2 boys, 2 girls) and a celeb to play, with the celeb’s winnings split evenly among the kids would be cool.

    • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

      I like it. I’m sold. For time, maybe just one boy and one girl. But then you’d really have to change from The Stripper.

    • ahnfire

      I think the celeb’s winnings are typically donated to charity, for what it’s worth. I doubt some of them need a $1k voucher on United Airlines…

      I agree that changing the song is the easiest of changes. I hope at the very least that happens. I think it’d be awesome if it was just kids+celebs. I definitely prefer when they have the two kid hockey teams do a relay as opposed to when they do shoot-the-puck.

  • Brain Sprain

    I love the ice girls and shoot the puck (aka: the kid, the geek & the bimbo.) also, all the female fans i know have never complained about the ice crew or the bimbo at shoot the puck. Maybe I’m just low class.

    PS. You better not watch the weather on the Spanish news or any Spanish soap operas. You will be too offended to blog.

    PSS. Continued thoughts and prayers to you and your family on the loss of our ombudsmen.

    • Brain Sprain

      Add CNBC to the list of things you can’t watch because it doesn’t pass the gender neurality test. Amanda Drury is amazing to look at, Steve Liesman? Not so much.

      • lizmcneill

        It’s almost like you’re starting to grasp the pervasiveness of it in society! Come on, you’re almost there!

        • Brain Sprain

          Of course i get it. It’s everywhere. Ginger Zee and Cheryl Scott are great weather people, but their looks had to have helped.

          PS. I have no doubt they are both women of incredibly high character. I’m just not blind.

    • ahnfire

      Well, here’s a female fan, complaining about both the ice crew and low-class people who refer to the female shoot-the-puck person as a bimbo.

      There you go, now you can say you know at least one.

      • YoAdrienne

        Make that two.

        • Brain Sprain

          Don’t forget Spanish novellas and weather girls. Oh and Fox news anchors.

          • Brain Sprain

            PS. From now on i will refer to the shoot the puck event as “the kid, the geek and the non-male homo sapien”

          • ahnfire

            OR you could just say, “the kid, the man, and the woman” or “kid, guy, girl”.

            It’s amazing, it’s like there are *words* out that that describe human beings without being derogatory.

          • Brain Sprain

            That’s like eating kale. Flavorless.

          • ahnfire

            and yet, better for you.

            also, kale is only flavorless if 1- you’re cooking it incorrectly and 2- you’ve only been eating junk your entire life.

          • Brain Sprain

            I guess the UC concessions should change the menu to vegan. Too much junk food for low class, meat heads like myself.

          • shinkicker

            you might want to give it a shot, the prion disease you get from eating your own kind is no joke!

          • Brain Sprain

            Hahaha…you called me a pig by using microbiological terms. Well played.

            I guess it’s better than getting my shins kicked. I like you. Your posts remind me of an old friend that was a vegan. She wore leather shoes and jackets and said the tannery was more compassionate than the slaughterhouse. I’m not sure how.

          • shinkicker

            I didn’t specify which meat product you were, pig is your choice.
            And it’s a song reference that I’m 90% sure only MightyMikeD gets.

          • Brain Sprain

            Pig seemed to fit with your insinuations better, so we can go with that. Also, if you were referring to bovine spongiform that would imply i was a bull which would mean i would be put out to stud at some point. I assumed you didn’t want to imply such a fate for me. So i went with the base of most hot dogs. Oink oink.

          • 2883

            You’ve probably insulted all of the foodies here as well. Good day sir.

          • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

            I hear ya, Ahn, and I’m on your side, really I am, but the UC people (presumably men) tend to pick out a Shoot The Puck Girls dressed… oh, man, now I’m stuck for a comparison without sounding sexist…. dressed in a way to get the attention of the largely male crowd…. That is, tight clothes and high heels, vs the many women present dressed in sneakers and Indian Head Sweaters…

            Of course, if dressing in tight clothes and high heels would get ME out on the UC ice during the second intermission, I’d do it.

          • birdhead

            That doesn’t reflect on her intelligence, it doesn’t make her a bimbo, and frankly a pair of jeans and a t-shirt is basically a uniform that happens to look better on some people than others, which is not their particular fault.

          • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

            No, but it’s the same reason the Ice Crew wear cute little skirts instead of proper ice scraping attire.

          • birdhead

            Well, the reason the women on the ice crew wear those is that it’s their uniform. There’s no external reason. Even the Kings ice girls, who actually have a swimsuit calendar, get to wear pants, for crying out loud.

            But I’m still not sure what the relevance is. Some women like to wear makeup and high heels. That doesn’t justify treating women and men who do STP differently, or calling women who are picked for STP bimbos.

        • birdhead

          three.

    • http://www.twitter.com/JohnnyMadhouse JohnnyMadhouse

      nothing like using the word “bimbo” to show you are highly qualified to speak intelligently on the topic of the objectification of women.

      ::slow clap::

      • Brain Sprain

        Okay, just an fyi…”the kid. The geek & the bimbo” is actually a reference to the old blue line that was sold outside the Chicago stadium when i was young. That’s what they called shoot the puck. I thought t was funny and fair in making fun of the guy and girl.

        I figured most people here are familiar with the blue line reference. Apparently not. But i still appreciate the ice crew. They give a distraction during tv time outs and other stoppages. That’s all. Nobody would ever pay a full price ticket to see them from the 300 level. This will be clear to everyone if/when the blackhawks become irrelevant again. I think we can all agree the ice crew doesn’t affect attendance.

  • jordyhawk

    During intermissions I like to watch the Zamboni sans distractions.

  • shinkicker

    I just don’t understand why they have to wear the short skirts to do manual labor, but the men doing it get to do the same work in track jackets and pants. The folks over at Fear the Fin have done a great job writing about the Sharks decision.

    • Brain Sprain

      I understand why.

      • shinkicker

        because your dick isn’t marketed to enough every other hour of the day? is it going to fall off if you have to watch a sporting event without T&A?

        Men are so fragile.

        • Brain Sprain

          I don’t watch sports for T&A. Plenty of websites that i don’t look at have that. I’ve met some of the ice girls at Blackhawk events. Not one of them seemed like anything but very nice young women. And easy on the eyes. Like Ryan Gosling in the notebook (according to my wife).

          • birdhead

            I don’t think anyone thinks that they’re not nice young women.

            Edit: Well, I don’t know what anyone thinks. Nobody has expressed in this thread any opinions about their character.

  • chichicagochi

    McDonaghy’s philosophies and hypocrisies can’t define how he be dropping these mockeries, sexistly performed armed robberies.

  • Jen LC

    Thanks for writing this Sam. I appreciate your take on these issues.

  • 2883

    Would it help if the males on the ice crew were dressed in a Borat Mankini? (Google if you don’t know what this is, but probably not at work, it’s probably NSFW).

    That said, I couldn’t care less. Let the girls wear full length outfits, get rid of them, keep them as is… I don’t go to the games, I watch the games for the game.

    I’m sorry we live in a sexist world. It’s not fun (my current job is sexist too, in the reverse way.) As long as the majority shows up, you’ll have the perfect example of Platonic criticism of democracy, “the tyranny of the majority” .

    • guest

      If you COULD care less, that means you do care (at least a little).

      I think it’d be nice if everyone on the ice crew got to wear warm clothes and just cleaned the ice.

      • 2883

        I edited the post. I also removed literally from the sentence.

    • birdhead

      “I’m sorry about sexism but I don’t care enough to do anything about it except complain about people talking about it”

      You obviously care enough to comment. Sam cared enough to write the blog post. Caring! It’s everywhere!

      • 2883

        You’re right. I don’t care enough to do anything about it. I’m pretty ambivalent about the entire topic. I’m not complaining about people talking about it, I’m more pointing out the fact that as long as the majority desires the Ice Girls, they’ll be there on the ice, wearing whatever it is that they wear.

        • birdhead

          The majority of the population is female, just quietly, and while there are plenty of women out there who aren’t bothered by ice girls and no doubt some who actively desire them I think you’re going to be hard-put to come up with a majority who genuinely desires them. Sexist advertising of all kinds – from ice girls down to pink-and-blue kids’ toy aisles – exists as a lazy marketing shorthand. It doesn’t mean those groups are actually real things who are really benefiting from ice girls or little toy pink vacuum cleaners.

          • 2883

            Indeed, the majority of the world population is female (51-49) or something like that. Inside of the stadium however, I’d hazard a guess to say on any given night the men outnumber the women. I have no statistics to back up this claim but I’m willing to hazard that guess. Assuming this is right, it’s not the majority of society that matters. It is the number of paying customers. I wonder how invisible they are to the average fan, I wonder if the Blackhawks conduct focus groups with their fans, and I wonder if they have evidence that beer sales increase if the IceGirls exist, not just on game day but at “special events” as well.

            I’m not sure where you were going with the pink toy vacuum cleaners.. It’s late, my bad.

          • 2883

            http://www.fanengagement.nl/news/blackhawks-experiencing-increase-female-fans/

            I’m not sure how reputable this site is but it has an estimate as of 2013, that 38% of fans that go to the games are women.

          • birdhead

            How many of the 62% do you think are gay? Fathers of young women? People like Sam who are put off? People like you who just don’t care? 20% doesn’t seem like a huge number of guys in attendance who just don’t give a shit.

          • 2883

            Because we live in a patriarchal society where sex sells. I don’t know where to start fixing the problem, but, it’s bigger than just on-ice girls. Also, I’m not sure if you did it consciously or unconsciously, but you used the word desire, which is a loaded word. I think you also probably have women who don’t care about the ice girls. I went to a Hurricanes game and they had ice girls too, they tossed pucks to little kids, skated around, they could’ve done it with clothes on.

          • birdhead

            I used the word desire because I was directly quoting you:

            as long as the majority desires the Ice Girls

            I agree, it’s a very loaded word. I don’t think it adequately describes the relationship of a majority of Blackhawks attendees to ice girls.

            Sex is certainly an established marketing tool. It’s easy to say “I don’t know where to start fixing the problem.” Maybe one place to start fixing the problem is by asking sports teams – sports teams who have products that have nothing to do with sex – to not use sex to sell their product; or if they must use sex, to use sex equally. Perhaps then you wouldn’t see women underrepresented as hockey fans.

            I don’t have a problem with host-style teams of people doing things like passing pucks, skating, cleaning the ice, etc. I don’t think those roles should be restricted to women and I don’t think those women should be required to dress the way Blackhawks ice girls are generally required to dress.

          • 2883

            Oops. I probably should go to bed. I’m clearly too tired.

          • birdhead

            40% of Blackhawks fans are supposed to be women now, so you need 83.4% of male Blackhawks fans to not just be OK with ice girls but to actively desire them and find them an inducement.

  • guest

    While we’re bleeding our hearts, I’d like to point out that I always find it a bit weird that everyone categorically states that “this is only for men.” Well, it’s only really for *most* men. And some women.

    Things can obviously get complicated where maybe you a gay dude wouldn’t care that there’s eye candy for your straight bros, or if a lesbian lady isn’t really enthused by uncomfortable, shoe-horned in ice bikini time (much like sam, a man who likes women but is made uncomfortable by it). Still, let’s not be so heternormative, jeez.

    • birdhead

      let’s ask @raedances if she feels erased from the conversation she started. I’m guessing no.

      • guest

        You can be left out of a discussion you start. It just bugs me that the way everyone’s been talking about it (in this comments section, at least) has consistently implicitly linked gender and sexuality.

        • birdhead

          I actually asked around some mates before coming back to be sure I wasn’t just speaking for myself – women who are attracted to women are generally *not* attracted by things like ice girls. We can tell that we’re not the target audience and we don’t find it to be complimentary when women’s bodies are used as advertising. We also know that we’re not the target audience.

    • Guest

      The woman who asked the question is gay.

  • BodomSlayer

    I was at an IceHogs game this year and had an interesting situation occur. The creepy, older, wanna be biker pervert next to me kept trying to “subtly” snap pictures of the girls on the ice and the girl in front of me who’s thing kept popping out of her pants. This pandering to the lowest common denominator is stupid. And sometimes very disgusting.

    • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

      From your description, it doesn’t sound like that was a woman in front of you.

  • HawkIPA

    Excellent posts and some great comments below. I’ll only add that the Ice Girls and shoot the puck are completely gratuitous and unnecessary. No one is going to the Hawks game for the primary purpose of watching the Ice Girls – not even the drooling dudes they’re out there to entertain. The Hawks could get rid of it and suffer zero financial consequences. They can have other “entertainment” pass the time and no one would stop buying tickets to see the Hawks.

    That’s a big reason this is so egregious. It’s an affront to a lot of people that is totally unnecessary to the Hawks’ bottom line.

  • Bannerman

    For the record, I don’t much care for the Ice Girls. Even before I had a daughter I always felt sort of sorry for the Waitresses at Hooters or the Jeiger girls or whatever. At the same time, I am a man that likes to look at beautiful women.
    At the risk of derailing this discussion, which aspect of Blackhawks hockey is more offensive to more people: The Ice Girls or the Logo/ team name? I wonder to what extent these two issues might be related. If the Blackhawks “cave” on the Ice Girls issue for fear of offending people, wouldn’t that set something of a precedent for changing the Logo/ name in that a vocal minority convinced the organization to make a changed based on its potential to offend people? Or perhaps more to the point, isn’t the discussion of the Ice Girls a distraction from that issue?

    • Jalamanta

      “wouldn’t that set something of a precedent for changing the Logo/ name in that a vocal minority convinced the organization to make a changed based on its potential to offend people”

      Interesting angle that I hadn’t considered in the context of the Ice Girls.
      The logo has a lot more going for it than the Ice Girls do or ever will. I think you’re scenario is only a problem in a climate where relativism is a lot more prominent than it actually is.

    • guest

      The logo/team name is ludicious to talk about. There has been little to no noise from the Sauk nation, who would be the only ones who have a prayer of being upset. The team can always get away on technicalities anyway, since it’s not really named after chief blackhawk, but after an army unit.

      Any comparisons to the redskins kerfuffle have to be reductionist in the extreme. Redskins is a straight-up racial slur, Blackhawks is honoring an army unit that honored a great warrior. I haven’t heard a single person say they were offended by the blackhawks logo, including several who have campaigned actively against the redskins one. All I’ve heard is clickbaiting articles asking “OMG WHEN ARE THEY COMIN FOR US.”

      That entire stupid discussion is totally tangential to the question of ice girls anyway. Do you really think that a business giving its customers what they want is setting a “bad precedent…?”

  • guesthouse

    I think there is a fair amount of delusion and fantasy inherent in male sports fandom. When you’re a kid, you grow up wanting to be on the playing surface one day. When you’re an adult, it turns into critiquing the play, coaching, front office, in a way that’s, “Well, if I was there…” I think the inclusion of ice crews/cheerleaders is an extension to play on that male fantasy.

  • Commit88

    I have to disagree. The majority of girls i’ve dated are Hawks fans but that doesn’t mean they know much about hockey or the team. They’re the ones that like the pink stuff, little Hawks tops, don’t understand icing or offsides, and know who the hottest players are.

    I’m not saying all of them are because I know some that are very knowledgeable, but the majority? No. The United Center has turned into Cubs central anyways. Half the people there or more have no idea what’s going on other than they are “cool” for being there. It’s pretty nauseating.

    • Commit88

      I do agree about the ice girls as much as I hate to say it. They have dance and ice girls I think everywhere though, not just Chicago. Just another point, there are several males I know who said “why didn’t you tell me about the ice crew??” and said they would have been more interested in going to a Hawks game if I had told them about the ice crew. Might sound stupid, but the stuff works.

      • Andrew Cieslak

        Why not just take them to the strip club

        • Commit88

          The ice girls get naked?

          • Andrew Cieslak

            Nope but if they don’t care about hockey.

        • Commit88

          I may have to do that on second thought.

      • guest

        So let me get this straight.. there should be ice girls, because the only people upset are women. Women know nothing about hockey, so they don’t count.

        There should also be ice girls because guys who know nothing about hockey like that the ice girls are there.

        Guys who you KNOW know nothing about hockey count more than women who you ASSUME know nothing about hockey, because they have penises.

        Do I have this right?

        • Commit88

          I’m not saying women don’t know or want to know anything about hockey. I’m not saying guys know more about hockey. The main point I disagreed with is that most female blackhawks fans want to be treated like everyone else. I was saying that most girls I knew liked the pink jerseys, and the hottest blackhawk guys, etc. That’s it. I’m not saying all of them are like that. I don’t have stats to back that up though, so it’s just from a small sample size of people I’ve known.

          I said I agreed that the ice girls thing might be a bad idea. I was just saying other teams do it. It isn’t just the Hawks. I was also saying that I know older gentlemen who aren’t fans that were more interested in the game because of the ice girls. Fine, get rid of the ice girls, those guys really don’t tune in often or go to games unless they are free corporate events anyways. That was just kind of a side comment.

          The comment about don’t come to the UC is targeted at the cubs crowd which includes men and women. They are the reason I can’t go to a game for under 100 bucks, however I’ve already argued with people on the site about it is better now that the team is good.

          • guest

            Yeah, if I have to choose two cups (maybe more!) plus wrigley lite for 100 bucks or watching the hawks get their shit kicked in night after night for some pennies and my pocket lint.. I’ll put up with wrigley.

            Back to ice girls… shockingly, different women like different things. It’s almost like they’re people.

            What’s befuddling to me, though, is that when it comes to guys, you deride the “cubs crowd” and obviously favor “real fans.” Yet when it comes to ladies, you think that the “cubs crowd” women you’ve dated should guide the marketing rather than the multiple hardcore lady fans on this site (including one I’m married to, can confirm she is a woman) who have clearly stated they find pink indianhead sweaters kind of offensive. Shouldn’t you be carrying the hardcore fan banner, screw the pink-sweaters-they’re-for-posers?

          • Björn

            I try to stay out of things like this, but really think about what you’re saying.

            Most women you know are more into: the “visual, sex appeal” of the hockey players, the frilly, pink jerseys, not understanding the game, etc. Does it strike you that this occurs only because of the stereotypes and gender roles that we as a society have deemed fit?

            My girlfriend would be considered a “girly girl”. She likes all the things that you mentioned, pink, cute ‘Hawks tops, the whole works. She also has loved watching the game and learning about it and letting me teach her. Not because I’m a man and I’m better than her, just because I’ve watched the game my whole life and she never watched it before.

            How can women ever break that barrier that apparently nauseates you if you don’t exact the change? How would my girlfriend not become that “stereotypical woman” who only goes to a game to see the “hott, sexy players” and to wear her He’s-Marian-Hossa-and-you’re-not shirt unless she was given the chance to, I don’t know, actually be my equal?

            My point is, if this is tl;dr, how can the women who annoy you be anything different if not given the chance to be different? How can they be more of a “real fan” if you only give them the space to be what you think they are?

          • Commit88

            You make good points. I’m all for people becoming bigger fans.

    • Jen LC

      All those people who aren’t smart enough hockey fans for you to deem them deserving to be there pay all the salaries. Time to get over making people pass a “do you know the rules” test before accepting their ticket at the door.

      • Commit88

        It would be far better for those people to not attend the United Center. You must be one of those girls eh?

        • shinkicker

          wow

        • http://www.twitter.com/JohnnyMadhouse JohnnyMadhouse

          Oh please get him.

        • ahnfire

          ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha what.

          You’re a prick. I’m torn between just banning you now or letting Jen destroy you because, really, she deserves that opportunity.

          • http://www.twitter.com/JohnnyMadhouse JohnnyMadhouse

            Can I vote for destroy?

          • Commit88

            Really? You can’t respond to an insult with an insult? I wasn’t calling anyone a prick at least

          • ahnfire

            How did Jen insult you? I totally insulted you, that’s not a question.

          • shinkicker

            Where was the insult? Calling your ideas absurd isn’t actually an insult [string of insults redacted]

          • Commit88

            Ok wow, I’ll just stop. I like tci, but if you say something unpopular or that isn’t the consensus, you get attacked for it. Geez sorry if I offended so many people by saying don’t come to the UC.

          • ahnfire

            Wah, cry persecution more. You said something stupid and were called out for it by multiple people. You then threw insults and were insulted in turn.

            You can try turning it around by claiming we’re at fault if it makes you feel better, but that doesn’t change the facts.

          • Commit88

            No it’s pretty obvious reading this site for years that if you say something people don’t agree with, you get ripped for it. If you rip someone yourself, you’re threatened to be banned?

          • ahnfire

            I ban for personal insults, misogyny, sexism, homophobia or I throw people in timeout in an attempt to calm down a rampaging thread. I’ll usually allow one tit-for-tat insult combo before I step in. I totally insulted you, so if you insulted me in response, I would’ve been all, that’s fair since I started it. Continuing however, would get a warning to move on.

            I don’t ban for unpopular opinions. That’s different from what I listed above. Also, I remind people – if you have a minority/unpopular opinion, you’re going to have more people countering you (that’s how minority/majority works).

            You got the threat to ban for the collective of misogynistic comments. Not because your opinion is unpopular.

          • http://www.twitter.com/JohnnyMadhouse JohnnyMadhouse

            Apparently you don’t like TCI all THAT much or you would know who Jen is.

        • kris

          boy are you wrong, I’d put a lot of money that she knows more then you. haha

        • lizmcneill

          You must be new. Been a fan of the Blackhawks long? Or is it the internet that’s a novelty?

        • Jen LC

          Can’t say that anyone who has ever met me or knows me at all has ever called me “one of those girls” but you go ahead and think that if it makes you feel more secure in your manhood. Good job proving the point of women being treated like garbage in sports though.
          Also, unless you’re sitting in the stands looking to discuss how great Saad’s controlled zone entry % was last season, I doubt you’re really suffering much from the hockey IQ of the people around you.
          Maybe you should explain some of the basics to the new fans instead of brushing them off because their fan card doesn’t have an old enough date on it.

          • http://www.twitter.com/JohnnyMadhouse JohnnyMadhouse

            Not to make light of this at all, but I’m really excited about next year for Saad.

          • Jen LC

            me too. That kid is going to be a treat to watch again.

        • Matt

          Hey, you should try reading Jen’s blog sometime! It has lots of fancy numbers that you’ll (obviously) understand. It’s really only for the “true” fans. You’ll love it!

    • guesthouse

      It kind of seems like you’re saying the people you date fall into the category of people you find nauseating. If so, why do that?

      • shinkicker

        I think his expectations are a little high. I mean, can you really expect a blow up doll to know what Corsi is?

        • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

          The only realm where possession has a perfect positive correlation with scoring. As pure a 1 as can be measured.

          • Hawkeytalk

            And Corsi works the same way!

      • Commit88

        I don’t know. Because they’re pretty?

  • 1985AH1985

    I don’t care in the least. I guess I’m a cave man.

    • Andrew Cieslak

      thanks for letting us know how little you care.

  • Andrew Cieslak

    “Maybe they should take a look at getting rid of the ice girls because a portion of the fanbase finds them demeaning.”

    “R U SAYING I CAN’T LIKE PRETTY GIRLS NO MORE?”

    • AirTrafficAJ

      Shit’s gone full meatball today.

  • 334Rules

    Do I think the whole Ice Crew thing is exploitative? Sure. As is every cheer-leader type situation in sports. When you pack 20,000 seat arenas (for hockey and basketball) or 80-100,000 seat arenas (for football), you surely don’t need a handful of people cuing you when to be excited. And even if you did, you certainly don’t need them to be super-hot, half-naked young ladies.

    But the Ice Crew break is usually when I get up to hit the head and/or grab a beverage, so I don’t see much of them on the actual ice. (Same with the “shoot-the-puck,” by the way – I’m rarely in my seat during intermission.)

    I’d love it if we lived in a world where people didn’t get marginalized/advanced/held-back or whatever because of their looks, and folks were judged solely on merit and kindness. But as much of an idealistic bleeding-heart as I am (and believe me, I am), I’m also not naive enough to think that a) we’re gonna get there anytime in my life or b) that an NHL franchise deciding to give their female ice maintenance workers a sweatshirt instead of a bikini is gonna make one iota of a difference. Take a look at the Bears: they eliminated the Honey Bears decades ago – and remain one of the only sports franchises in the world without cheerleaders.

    I’m glad SOMEBODY is taking up the issue, particularly if it hits close to home for them. And I certainly won’t stand in their way. But my perception is that if we take care of the broader issues of discrimination, these things will go away on their own; conversely, getting rid of the Ice Crew outfits will not cure the gender wage gap.

    • guest

      How would you suggest taking care of broader issues of discrimination?

      One idea I have might be advocating for organizations to stop broadcasting certain gender roles to huge numbers of fans, many of them young. That could have a big impact by removing a signal for young boys and girls that boys compete and girls skate around looking pretty. I wish there was some organization we were all passionate about that does something like this, so we could try to influence them and make an impact on the broader issues.

      Oh wait.

    • Michael Scott

      It won’t make the whole thing go away, but it’s the little things that can spark change. I don’t want an organization I respect to change these practices because society has changed and they’re no long necessary; I want them to change because they’re unnecessary, promote an unhealthy aspect of society, and because it’s hypocritical for them to remain.

      It’s strengthening an aspect of this culture that supports the objectification of women for profit. It’s reinforcing a cultural obsession with traditional gender roles. The more places in which this kind of reinforcement is killed, the easier it will be to change society’s state of mind as a whole.

  • stacie7

    I have to say that the first time I went to a game and saw the ice girls (so long ago I could afford to sit in the 100 level) I actually blurted out “is this necessary” loud enough to receive glares from most of the men around me. My first impression was why are they putting this peep show on ice. Since then I have learned to just ignore it. I’m not going to let it ruin my fun of being at the game.

    • shinkicker

      It’s not necessary, and the idea that they are a draw is ridiculous. Porn is free on the internet so who is spending hundreds of dollars to get a good view of the Ice Girls?

  • http://www.twitter.com/JohnnyMadhouse JohnnyMadhouse

    You forgot Bobby Hull.

  • http://www.twitter.com/JohnnyMadhouse JohnnyMadhouse

    Personally the Ice Crew girls, don’t bother me. Granted I’m a male. I’m sickened by the whole Ray Rice situation. Some random thoughts…

    - The Ice Crew girls seek out those spots, and from everything I’ve been told, enjoy very much what they do. Have they complained about the uniforms?

    - To complain that the Ice Girls objectifying women is fine, I can see how one might think that. That being said, does make-up objectify women? Does Miss America objectify women? I seem to remember some of those Ice Crew Girls bust out some serious figure skating moves in the past, (granted his was a few years back but still.)

    I guess my question is, to those who feel the Ice Crew objectifies women and make-up and Miss America don’t, where is the line between objectification and empowerment? Is that to be decided by us what makes a woman feel proud or each individual woman? I’m the majority of the Ice Crew are proud of what they do, is it right for us to decide whether or not they are right to feel proud?

    These are genuine questions; I’m trying to understand the other point of view, though I’m certain I just poked the hive.

    I’ll hang up and listen to your responses.

    • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

      I’m not sure where the grouping of Ice Girls, make-up and Miss America comes from, so I’ll leave that alone.

      But here, I’ll pose a question with respect to what constitutes the objectifying of women and what doesn’t. It’s not a hard and fast rule I’m suggesting, not by any stretch, but it may provide a new perspective. Let’s say you have a daughter and she’s just informed you that she’s trying out for the Ice Girls Crew. Are you comfortable with that and all that it entails (the leering and the middle-aged men’s groin stirring; the valuation of your daughter based exclusively on the “merits” of her legs and breasts and looks; the fact that her male co-workers wear coats and pants; etc., etc.)?

      If I’m that father, it would raise some questions in my mind, even if she was a smart, proud, capable and good kid.

      And if it’s not all that ideal for my daughter, even as a stepping-stone to something else, then what makes it no big deal for everyone else’s?

      • http://www.twitter.com/JohnnyMadhouse JohnnyMadhouse

        I will preface this by saying I don’t have children.

        That being said, if my girlfriend was a good skater, loved the Hawks, and wanted to join the Ice Crew, I’d support her.

        If old pervs are going to leer at my girlfriend they are going to do it whether she is in a short skirt or jeans, pervs is pervs is pervs.

        The unfortunate reality is, men who want to objectify women will do so regardless of circumstance; attitudes, not clothing lead to the objectification on women. If you don’t believe me, ask any girl trying to learn to read in Afghanistan right now.

        I’m not saying that the Ice Crew is necessary, but we have bigger issues to worry about than the Ice Crew when it comes to the way society views women; we fix those issues, we don’t care if the Ice Crew is objectifying or not.

        The make-up comment is in reference to the “where do we draw the line?” …I picked an extreme example to provoke thought. Women wear make-up so they feel better about themselves and their personal appearance, yet we have a problem with women who choose, voluntarily might I add, to flaunt their personal appearance and express themselves as a member of the Ice Crew? I personally don’t think girls should feel the need to wear make-up, but why is one okay and the other isn’t is my question, and that goes back to those attitudes we hold as a society.

        Again, these questions are to provoke thought, I understand the chasm between some eyeliner and a short skirt, tube top combo, but at their core, I’d argue both of these things come from the same place.

        • guest

          The question isn’t “will men ever look at women.” The question is “should women in skimpy outfits be presented for all to see at a venue that otherwise has nothing to do with sex.”

          “These things come from the same place” is so stupid. Personally, I understand the chasm between stabbing someone in the eye and a hockey hit, but both are violence and at their core I’d argue both of these things come from the same place.

          When a woman puts on eyeliner, she’s making herself fit how people want her to look, yes. So are you when you put pants on before you go outside. It’s wrapped up in our whole set of norms about grooming and appearance. It is true that there are nuts of bullshit to crack when it comes to how much effort men and women are expected to put in. They’re questions of degree and subtle shirts in expectations, though, making them difficult and complicated to fight or change.

          Meanwhile, none of that is anywhere near equivalent to the fact that the blackhawks feel the need to trot out a team of ladies in skimpy outfits anytime hockey isn’t going on. That’s easy to change–don’t do it. Done.

          Why are there so many comments saying “look guys, why make this small, manageable, impactful change when we could fix a huge, nebulous concept that would make the change when we did it anyway?” It’s like telling Rosa Parks not to sit on the bus because the problem is racism, not discriminatory bus seating. They’re kinda related, folks.

          • http://www.twitter.com/JohnnyMadhouse JohnnyMadhouse

            There is a subtle difference between your comment on violence and mine on make-up, but an important one; women willingly put on eye make-up AND join the Ice Crew. Hockey players play hockey knowing they will get hit; sane people don’t take actions knowing that they will directly result in them being stabbed in the eye.

            That being said you do make a good point in that it is unrelated to the game and therefore has no place, if that’s the reason why you think it should be omitted, I think that’s valid.

            If you think it should be omitted because you don’t like that the girls wear skimpy outfits, I would argue that that is censorship.

            Again, trying to provoke thought, which may be a mistake. Doesn’t make a difference to me whether they stay or go.

          • guest

            People make decisions that lead to eye-stabbing all the time. For instance, I’m continuing to run my mouth on the internet, and eventually someone will probably find me and stab me in the eye.

            The question of willingness has to be broken down by actor and recipient. In the case of the hockey hit, it’s voluntary both on the part of the hitter and the hittee; they both knew what they signed up for. In both the cases of stabbing and ice girls, though, the stabber or the ice girls could both be pretty gung-ho, while the stabbed and the attendee of a blackhawks game aren’t necessarily all about that.

            What a terrible case of censorship it was when the Sabres changed their buffaslug logo because everyone hated it, right?

            Censorship would be if the FCC rolled on in and told the blackhawks to cover their ice crew up. It’s not censorship without a censor, though. If the hawks voluntarily switch over to a mixed-gender team in sensible clothes after they realize they’re alienating a decent chunk of their fans for no real reason, is that really censorship?

          • http://www.twitter.com/JohnnyMadhouse JohnnyMadhouse

            Censorship doesn’t have to be done by the FCC.

            My point again, is this:

            The argument to be made is that the Ice Crew should be omitted because they don’t add value to the hockey game, not because “they dress too skimpy.”

            When you are making the “too skimpy,” argument, you are effectively saying what the Ice Crew should and should not wear, which is censorship.

            People should be free to wear what they want, provided it’s not obscene, that’s in The Constitution, yo.

          • guest

            Again, shouldn’t the Sabres have been free to wear what they want to wear? Would you be on the barricades in support of management, shouting “you people are all supporters of censorship” if the hawks unilaterally change their logo to a big middle finger and fans aren’t happy about it?

            What’s in the Constitution is that the government can’t penalize you for what you wear. That’s it. Not that I can’t say I think you look dumb in that outfit, or that I can’t tell a company that I think their employees are dressed ridiculously and I’d like them to change it. You seem to think that the Constitution bans opinions.

            I am, in fact, saying that the ice crew outfits are too skimpy and that it’s an insult to their fanbase. I am saying that if they don’t want to insult their fans, they shouldn’t have the crew wear those outfits. That is 100% grade-A constitutional.

          • http://www.twitter.com/JohnnyMadhouse JohnnyMadhouse

            The Sabres were free to wear what they wanted, they elected not to for business reasons. For the most part I’m with you.

            I think my issue is, how much of the fan base is offended?

            I personally am offended that they parade Bobby Hull out there, with his history of domestic violence, but I don’t say “Ban Bobby Hull,” I just don’t clap for him. The majority of fans (who probably don’t know his past) love to see Bobby at the games, it’s not my place to deny them that

            If the majority of the fan base is offended by the Ice Crew then the Blackhawks should do something, I agree. In this case though, it would be a business decision, not a morality decision.

          • A another

            It’s not censorship to suggest that the Hawks make a better decision regarding the ice girls, no one can force them to change it. Though people can try to convince them public opinion is against it. Of course people can wear whatever they like on their own time (as long as it adheres to decency laws!)

          • A another

            The issue is not whether these women are willing or not, I’m sure most of them have no problems with it. It’s about the societal implications of having them there in the first place. As it is at the moment, it’s indicating to everyone there that women are to be looked at and men are there to do the job.Women are mostly only represented in the NHL as a form of sexualised entertainment. The difference between a girl wearing makeup or a short skirt when she goes out and the ice girls is a) it is not a decision made by an organisation which we can wish would provide a better example and b) it is something she decides to do for herself to make herself feel good (stemming from patriarchal values, perhaps), most women aren’t doing it for MEN, this why most would prefer they don’t stare or touch without permission even though it may seem (to those without a brain) that they’re inviting it. It has nothing to do with the women themselves, but with the example provided.

          • Kate C

            There are so many things wrong with your stance that it’s hard to deal with, so I’m going to pick on one thing: If it doesn’t make a difference to you whether they stay or go, then stop debating it. This is not a topic on which you NEED to be “thought-provoking,” this is a deeply upsetting, hurtful topic for female fans and for women in general. We’ve already had all these thoughts. We’ve already gone through these arguments with people that the objectification of women doesn’t actively affect.

            Yes, to your question. Miss America is objectifying women. So is makeup. We perform femininity and put on makeup and learn these behaviors because we’ve been told, over and over again, through magazine ads and covers and television and the way our neighbors remark on our bodies that this is the way we’re supposed to be. Just because we contribute to our own oppression at times doesn’t mean that it’s not still oppression. If you’re honestly curious on the subject, read some of Bell Hooks’ works. She’s a phenomenal author and you’ll learn a lot. But if you’re just commenting to stir the pot, there’s no need to bother.

          • http://www.twitter.com/JohnnyMadhouse JohnnyMadhouse

            Kate, I’m sorry if I upset you, but I think I might be a bit misunderstood. The point I was trying to make was not that women “contributing to their own oppression,” by putting on make-up is okay. My point was that women put make-up on to make themselves feel better and possibly the women who are on the Ice Crew perform as a part of the group because it makes them feel good or prideful; my girlfriend was a cheerleader in college and takes great pride in her ability as an athlete.

            I apologize if this is not how I was received. You are right, there are women who put on make-up not because they want to but because they feel they “have to,” and that is horrible.

            I’ve said multiple times in my responses to this article, that we still have a lot of work to do in regards to how we treat women as a society. I believe that can only be accomplished through thought-provoking dialogue. Perhaps I picked the wrong venue or didn’t articulate myself well. I definitely did not aim to hurt anyone’s feelings.

        • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

          The Ice Girls are hardly the most serious issue when it comes to sexism and gender inequality, I agree. But imo you can’t fix large, truly global problems by blinking and hoping. It begins with small things, small demonstrations of equality, small changes in perspective.

          I don’t have children either, and if I had a daughter I’d try to support whatever she decided if it was a well-considered choice. But I also wouldn’t want her in a job whose purpose, if even obliquely, was to cause men to get erections.

          • http://www.twitter.com/JohnnyMadhouse JohnnyMadhouse

            I agree with you, I guess my point is that I believe that while it is bad that women are objectified based on appearance, I think it is equally restrictive and oppressive to say women “shouldn’t dress so sexy.” Until we change the way we view women as a society, they will continue to be objectified by some regardless of how they dress, so why are we restricting them further.

            Hopefully that makes sense?

  • Colbeagle

    I managed to scrape together the cash last year to see the Hawks in person at the UC for the first time (I don’t live in Chicago; it’s an expensive trip) as a birthday treat for myself. Told my mom I was going, she thought it would be great if I could get picked to play the shoot the puck game at the break (she’s more of a football fan, so not up on the details of the Blackhawks Game Experience, but she’s enthusiastic about my enthusiasm). I had to explain how I don’t really qualify, which led in to an excruciating conversation (‘they don’t just pick randomly? they play WHAT music?’) that ended with her saying “well I think you’re beautiful, honey” while I died of embarrassment for everyone involved.

    Then of course once I got there, I got to stare at my hands while the increasingly tipsy dudes in my section yelled increasingly vulgar shit at the ice crew.

    The point is not that most men don’t care or that some women don’t mind. That’s obviously true. The point is that all this shit combines to make at least some portion of their audience uncomfortable – it’s obviously not just me and my personal hangup. And since no one in their right mind is buying hockey tickets to see a girl shovel ice in a skirt, maybe we can just . . . not do that. Maybe we can just be a little better at this one thing, even if doing so doesn’t solve sexism for everybody everywhere.

    • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

      Constructive comment.

      • ChicagoNativeSon

        I don’t see what’s so constructive about your comment?

        Unless of course you mean you’re in the process of constructing an actual comment, and this comment is just a placeholder?

        • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

          Announcement: Jerkface.

    • ahnfire

      I’m sorry about that uncomfortable part of your UC experience. :( I really hope the game/other parts of being at the UC (i.e. anthem, etc.) made up for it.

      • Colbeagle

        Oh, no worries. I knew all that was coming and am not the type to let casual dickbaggery ruin things for me. The fact that the Hawks got their asses beat in both games I went to was way worse.

        Plus, my mom thinks I’m pretty :)

    • Hawkeytalk

      I hope someone from the hawks organization sees this comment. The Ice Girls, in their present uniforms are not a victimless crime, so to speak.

  • Deborah Mosca

    Thanks for another eloquent piece on a subject that I’m pleased to see addressed with such intelligence.
    The Mad Men running the organization should understand that trotting out the Ice Crew merely signals what they are… desperate old men too cheap to buy porn.

    • jekyll1489

      I agree with the sentiment, but who the hell buys porn?

    • YoAdrienne

      I wouldn’t go so far as to say they’re “desperate old men too cheap to buy porn.” The “Mad Men” analogy, on the other hand, might be a little closer to the truth. Or, more specifically, it’s probably the case with the PR team. I think they’re stuck in the past, with a mentality where they think they need to use T&A to sell their product. Maybe they’re just afraid to quit some of this stuff. It could be out of unjustified fears that they’ll lose fans if they do so. Or, they could be afraid of the good ol’ boys in the league accusing them of being “whipped” by the ladies. Who knows why, but I do hope this young woman, and the conversation she has started have got them reconsidering things.

      • guest

        The losing fans argument always bugs me especially, considering that 1) there were ice girls in the 90s, and nobody was coming to see them and 2) The hawks share a city with one of the few football teams that respects women enough to not trot cheerleaders out. The bears’ lack of cheerleaders in a league that has many more teams focusing way more on that aspect of the “Fan Experience” hasn’t really left the seats in soldier field assless, as far as I know.

        • YoAdrienne

          I don’t by the “losing fans” argument, either, especially given that they’ve been selling out even with tickets at astronomical prices. People come to see a good team, with or without any “Fan Experience.” The Blackhawks are a great team, and the Bears ain’t so bad, either. They pretty much sell themselves.

      • Hawkeytalk

        They could go the way of TAB diet soda: gradually changing the can color to red from pink when the Coke corp. discovered a large number of men were TAB drinkers. The hawks could gradually enlarge the uniforms so they aren’t as revealing, then just bite the bullet by putting them in the same outfit as the men.

        • YoAdrienne

          Why not just hire people all types who can properly maintain the ice, and have them wear fitting attire for that job?

  • http://www.twitter.com/JohnnyMadhouse JohnnyMadhouse

    By the way… I’m really glad Sam is back.

  • berkley

    if you have to explain away why you support women’s rights or feel the need to insert the fact that you are, actually, very straight, you probably aren’t as well adjusted as you think

    • The Nutbrown Hare

      Oh, I make no claims to being well-adjusted. I’m quite a friggin’ mess, thank you kindly.

      • Joe Banks

        I can relate…

        • The Nutbrown Hare

          I mean, c’mon…I’m a f#&$ing chain-smoking rabbit.

  • Guest

    Does Malort still have “The Malort Girls”?

  • berkley

    that woman is a dead ringer for Ronda Rousey

  • Matt

    I’m all for choice — women can choose to (or choose not to) work as an Ice Girl, just as male or female fans can choose to (or choose not to) attend/watch a game. But just looking at things from a purely business standpoint, I’d have to think the Ice Girls and the sexist choices that are being made are bad for business.

    It seems as if the Blackhawks have a pretty large female fanbase, so I would guess that there’s a higher likelihood of the sexist actions keeping some fans away from the games than it is putting extra butts in the seats.

  • https://twitter.com/RamblinGrimace Ramblin Grimace

    I think the Blackhawks need more androgynes for “Shoot the Puck.”

  • Kate C

    Yes to pretty much all your points. Ice Girls need a revamping at the VERY least, and should be led by and designed by women if they want to get ahead of the times. This whole thing ties in pretty nicely to a lot of work done on the male gaze, by the way.

    The one thing I’d debate is the Ladies Night. If done badly, it would absolutely piss most of us off. I’ve seen Ladies Nights where the women were talked down to, given exceedingly simple explanations of a game most of them knew very well, etc. While that is probably something newer fans would be really interested in (in which case it should be advertised not as Ladies Night but as New Fans Night or something of the like) I’d actually be interested to see how the ‘Hawks ran a Ladies Night. If it were simply a regular game, but with half-price tickets for women or a game where season ticket holders (regardless of gender) and the rest of the tickets were reserved for women, it would probably be fantastic.

    • ahnfire

      I went to a Ladies Night at Prudential Center – my ticket was discounted and I got a free drink voucher. Nothing more than that. If the Hawks do what the Devils did, I would be ALLLL for it. Although now that I think about it, I don’t remember if there was any sort of confirmation of my lady-ness since I bought the tickets on their website. Hmmm…

  • Pilotefan

    How can you tell it’s off season ? Prolonged discussions with trolls about what should be obvious, like do up your fly.
    If there is no beefcake on display with the ladies, it’s sexist and inappropriate.
    If they add beefcake, it’s inappropriate.

  • guest

    Thank you for this Sam, truly, and to many others in the comments.

  • Hawks1980

    I might not even notice if they got rid of the Ice Crew or Shoot the Puck. Ice Crew time is when I read The Indian and Shoot the Puck time is when I wait in a long line for the restroom. I will say that if I were to concentrate on getting something taken away, it would be the shootout.

  • VanDorp’sMullet

    Sam, glad to see you back in action. Un abrazo fuerte, che.

    And at the risk of sounding like I’m pandering, one only need to spend a little time on this blog or Second City Hockey to see that there are lots of extremely well-informed women following the Hawks. I’ve learned tons about the game from the likes of Birdhead, Liz McN, Ahn, Stacie, et al. It doesn’t take too long walking in a woman’s shoes in a thought experiment to see that the Ice Crew might make one feel disrespected or patronized.

  • Black JEM

    As someone who has never liked cheerleaders in professional sports I have no love for the Ice Crew.
    However, there are a few realities of life which are:
    Men overwhelming watch professional sports – every marketer knows it. Men love to watch pretty girls walking around. I’m not suggesting its bad or good – it just is.
    Fact, women just don’t care as much, don’t know as much about it since they don’t care as much. Certainly there are women who know every bit as much as the guys. But there are also women who like the eye candy too, as sales of Sharp jersies can attest.
    Manufactured outrage is so boring.

  • bennicksic

    To me as a male who doesn’t go to strip clubs and thinks the putting on a pedestal of “beautiful” women is a played out gesture, I think if the ice crew makes even one woman uncomfortable they should get rid of them. They, along with the token hot girl at shoot the puck challenge, bring nothing to the table for me as a fan.
    When the intermission hits, I am either in the bathroom or the bar because I don’t want to miss any of the action doing these things.

    I feel bad for the women society deems as not beautiful who are knowledgable about the game and a lot cooler than the ones there for their looks alone. Cheers to those women and I would much rather spend 2 hours taking in a game with one of them than the other. Hopefully I’m not in the minority.