Fans of the NHL's San Jose Sharks are complaining that the team wants its new Ice Girls team to show too much skin during hockey games and some are threatening to cancel their season tickets over it.
The Sharks front office wanted to use the team, essentially a co-ed cheerleading squad that doubles as the crew that scrapes and cleans the ice during television timeouts, as a way to improve the fan experience during the games, according to the San Jose Mercury News
When the team released pictures of the uniforms worn by the men and women – one with female's midriff showing while the man wore a conventional sweat suit – some fans charged that the Sharks were "objectifying women's bodies."
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Fans started the "Say No to Sharks Ice Girls" Facebook page to generate support against the team. The page has received nearly 1,500 likes since July 2.
"Whenever the Sharks have played a team (with) 'ice girls,' and I see them on TV, I've always thought/said 'Thank God the Sharks don't have freaking ice girls,'" Karen Bassoni Huston wrote on the Facebook page Tuesday. "As a woman that's played ice hockey for the last 17 years, and been a Sharks fan for longer, this is a straight up slap in the face to women."
Along with cleaning the ice, the Sharks' website
said the "ice team" will greet fans, assist in promotions and intermission activities, and participate in video features and marketing promotions.
Mercury News columnist Mark Purdy said he believes some of the fan anger is connected to the team's loss to eventual Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings in the playoffs.
"Fans being fans, many Sharks followers also made a link between the 'Ice Team' decision and the team's ignominious playoff exit," Purdy wrote Tuesday. "In case you have forgotten – and I'm guessing you have not – the Sharks lost four straight to the Los Angeles Kings after taking a 3-0 series lead. So the response to that horrible early elimination by our beloved Los Tiburones is ... skating fashion models? Really?"
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