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Sparkle And Spice And Everything Nice: Edmonton Oilers To Add Cheerleaders

Craig Anderson, now with the Avalanche, cannot believe a division rival is pulling this stunt

Stating that the move will add “a little extra spice and sparkle,” Edmonton Oilers President and CEO Patrick LaForge announced Thursday that the team is in the process of assembling a cheerleading squad. Big news indeed, as the Oilers are bucking tradition, becoming the first NHL team in Canada to have their own cheerleading team.

The yet unnamed Oilers cheerleading team – how about “The Lubes”? – will perform around Rexall Place before games and during breaks in play and according to the team’s website, “entertain and lift the spirits of the Edmonton Oilers community.” Oh, they’ll be lifting the spirits, alright. And by “lifting spirits,” I of course mean that they will inspire fans to rally around the team. Duh.

And while they are expected to perform routines on the ice, they will not be wearing skates, which, as a staunch Ice Girl traditionalist this bit of news somewhat irks me, but you know what? In the spirit of such a joyous occasion I’ll happily let it slide. Further, the Oilers are Canadian trailblazers and we should focus on that more than anything, as well as how exciting it will be for Oilers fans. Isn’t that right, Patrick LaForge?

Via the Edmonton Journal:

“I think it will be exciting. Fans of both genders, and children, will enjoy the dance routines,” LaForge said. “It will add liveliness, and it will add a memory and a take-away for people who spend a lot of money to come to Oilers games.”

Indeed. Unfortunately, the news has not been greeted warmly by everyone up Edmonton way. As always, there has to be at least one nattering nabob of negativity and filling that role in this scenario is one Michelle Meagher – a self-described Oilers fan and an associate professor of Women’s Studies at the University of Alberta.

“I was surprised,” she said. “Surprised that the Oilers felt that it was needed and that they felt it was appropriate.”

“The message is that you belong, essentially, on the sideline as dancers, not as participants in sports,” she said.

Jesus. You couldn’t see that icy (heh) interpretation coming from an associate professor of Women’s (shouldn’t it be Womyn’s) Studies, right? LaForge, to his credit, understands how a Buzzy Killington could see it that way, but insists that nobody should get their panties all in a bunch before seeing the final product, saying, “We’d ask people to see what comes out of it and judge it on its own merits, not pre-judge it.” To put it plainly, LaForge added that “It’s an entertainment idea. I appreciate that some people can take it the wrong way, but it’s added entertainment during breaks in the game.”

Damn straight, good sir. So cool your jets with your highfalutin ideas about hidden messages and conspiracy theories regarding exclusionary tactics and all that other mumbo jumbo, Miss Michelle Meagher, and try to simply enjoy the game experience with all its bells, whistles and booty-shaking.

Edmonton Oilers launch NHL cheer team [Edmonton Journal]