No more Ice Dudes: Philadelphia Flyers announce return of Ice Girls amid fan outcry
The fans spoke — more specifically, booed — and the Philadelphia Flyers listened.
The Flyers revealed on Tuesday night via an announcement on the Wells Fargo Center’s Jumbotron that the Ice Girls will make their triumphant return to the rink and will be in place for the team’s regular season home-opener on Oct. 9 against the New Jersey Devils.
The Ice Girls were disbanded last season after members complained and were replaced by an all-male ice cleanup crew during exhibition games at the team’s home rink this preseason.
To say the “Ice Dudes” were greeted warmly and the gender change was welcomed with open arms wouldn’t be an accurate characterization, not in the least
In fact, the all-male crew was lustily booed when the fellas took the ice during a Sept. 22 exhibition game.
The fellas reportedly received a similar, hostile response again on Tuesday night during the team’s exhibition game against the New York Rangers.
Enough was enough, apparently, and Tuesday’s vitriolic response to the “Ice Dudes” when they came onto the ice during a first period game-stoppage proved to be the final nail in the coffin.
A message, along with an image of a couple of beloved Ice Girls, came up on the Jumbotron midway through the first period Tuesday announcing that open tryouts will be held on Oct. 5 and a new team consisting of 10 women will be ready to roll — or skate — come the home opener.
“When Flyers fans voice their concerns, we listen, because they are undeniably the most passionate and knowledgeable fans in all of sports,” Flyers COO of Business Operations Shawn Tilger said, according to an NJ.com report. “After two preseason games evaluating the program, we’ve decided to welcome the return of the Flyers Ice Team, beginning on opening night. We’ll look to assemble a team that is fan friendly, and represents the Flyers well both on the ice and in the community.”
It’s refreshing to see a sports organization not only acknowledge and recognize fan unhappiness, but also to take it into account when making necessary changes to make things right … even if said change involves the return of scantily clad women parading around on the ice.