Skating on the ice during New York Islanders games is not reserved for just professional hockey players. Since the 2001-02 season, the Islanders have used ice girls to scrape and clean up ice during timeouts and over the past decade they have grown into ambassadors for the organization.
Saturday, July 10 marks tryouts for the coveted ice girl roster spots. The team selects around 10 each season and all participants must be 18 years of age or older.
"We go with the best and most talented that we can find," said Tim Beach, the Vice President of Game Operations for the Islanders.
The Islanders are pioneers in creating the ice girls and are the first NHL franchise to implement the dazzling and eye-catching skaters on the ice during games.
"The league sent out a memo asking that the ice cleaners speed things up," said Beach, who has been with the team for 15 years. "We were an all union building and we didn't envision teaching union employees to skate. We said, 'let's get some figure skaters out there.'"
There are presently over 20 NHL teams with Ice Squads that assist the league with ice maintenance during home games.
At the tryouts, girls will be asked to perform routines similar to what they would do during a game situation. They are sent out in groups of three to get a gage on their chemistry work with one another, just as it would happen at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum during hockey season.
Aside from on-ice duties, ice girls attend about 150 events for the hockey club.
"We would love to send the players to every single request," said Beach, "but with the schedule and being on the road, we don't have that ability. The ice girls pick up the slack."
Most ice girls have been skating since they were young and usually have some figure skating in their background. The team asks that all girls trying out this year wear a form fitting crop top, athletic fit pants and have figure skates in hand.
If you're thinking about trying out, don't forget a photo and resume, as well as having your hair and makeup prepared prior to auditions.
Things to remember …
- On the day of auditions, participants must enter through the Coliseum box office.
-IslandersTV will record the auditions and place them on the team's website video portal.
- For further information please call Kim Bienia at 516-501-6783 or Erin Willey at 516-501-6874.