Colorado Avalanche to Introduce New Co-Ed Ice Patrol

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 03: The Colorado Avalanche ice girls clean the ice during a break in the action against the Calgary Flames at Pepsi Center on November 3, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. The Avalanche defeated the Flames 6-3. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 03: The Colorado Avalanche ice girls clean the ice during a break in the action against the Calgary Flames at Pepsi Center on November 3, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. The Avalanche defeated the Flames 6-3. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) /
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The Colorado Avalanche are introducing a new form of brand ambassador, the Ice Patrol. This new crew replaces the old Ice Girls format.

The Colorado Avalanche are changing up their one-ice entertainment for next year. They’re introducing the Ice Patrol in lieu of the Ice Girls.

And, as the change in name suggests, there’s a change in gender as well. The new brand ambassador team will be open to men as well as women.

The team introduced the Ice Girls at the beginning of the 2013-14 season. You’re familiar with the Ice Girls, the hockey equivalent of cheerleaders only not really leading any cheers. Ostensibly their job has been to maintain the ice playing surface during TV timeouts. However, they do so looking like this:

colorado avalanche
colorado avalanche /

Why are they wearing little more than bikinis to clean the ice surface? You know the answer to that, and it has nothing to do with utility.

I regularly attend watch parties, so I’ve met the Ice Girls quite a few times. They’re just like any other group of youngsters — most are quite nice, some less so. One did help me win a signed Gabriel Landeskog jersey, and that’s awesome. However, another looked at my Patrick Roy tattoo and asked if it was Semyon Varlamov.

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Props for knowing the name of our goalie? But no representative of the team should look at a goalie image with the #33 and think of anything other than our Hall of Famer.

But, I digress. Actually, one of the requirements for the Ice Patrol is a “high level of team knowledge.” Part of the purpose for these brand ambassadors is to represent the team at games, events, and appearances. They’re meant to serve as liaisons within the community, not just at watch parties but also team charity events.

According to the team, the change from Ice Girls to Ice Patrol comes to “expand the opportunity to the many great skaters in the area.”

Yes, sure. There certainly are many great skaters in the Denver Metro area, and some of them are male. I can also tell you a large part of the team’s PR department is run by young women. Millennial women and status quo sexism simply don’t mix.

I choose to see this as a step in the right direction — as represented by the Hockey is for Everyone Initiative — for the Colorado Avalanche. Beyond the first season, seeing skantily clad women cleaning up after the dirty, dirty boys didn’t decrease my pleasure in games.

However, when I saw the announcement that the Colorado Avalanche were switching over to an Ice Patrol and that it would be co-ed, I got a little teary eyed. You get so used to ignoring the subtle signs that you’re unwanted in a fandom that even the most tacit of welcomes feels like a relief.

Read some of my initial reactions to Ice Girls:

Related Story. Ice Girls a Poor Marketing Strategy. light

Other teams have already introduced co-ed ice crews, including the Edmonton Oilers, Philadelphia Flyers, Vegas Golden Knights, San Jose Sharks and LA Kings.

And it’s worked just fine for all of them.

The Colorado Avalanche are holding the first round of auditions on Saturday, June 8 at 7 pm MT at the Ice Ranch in Littleton. Candidates must have a high level of team knowledge, enthusiasm for the team and sport, and skating ability.

But they no longer have to be female.