For years, the NHL has been the only major North American sports league without cheer-leading at the games. This of course, was due to the fact that cheerleaders tend to wear very little clothing and hockey rinks are generally freezing cold. However, in modern day hockey many NHL franchises have introduced cheerleaders into the stadium. They are paid promoters for the team, and act very similarly to any other type of cheerleader, minus the daredevil stunts. The league has even gone as far as to introduce attractive female ice attendants, known to many fans as " puck bunnies."
For the most part, it seems as if the idea has caught on in many non-traditional hockey markets. This is an obvious effort to copy the success of NFL and MLB teams in these areas. Teams based in Southern states, as well as California have jumped onto the cheer-leading bandwagon, and the girls can be seen at literally every game.
Despite obvious equality issues with this behavior, many teams have found that this technique is successful. Almost every team around has female ice attendants who will clean/repair the ice during brief intermissions of the game. These girls draw a lot of attention, and are fan favorites for many of the intoxicated male fans. They are a also a great distraction when the home team is struggling. As the years progress, I believe that many of the more hesitant teams will jump on boards. Entertainment during intermissions is a huge issue on hockey, as certain teams still struggle to bring fans into the stadium. Non-traditional hockey markets are becoming very similar to the MLB, as they look for creative new ways to keep fans entertained while the game is delayed. All in all, it seems to be an idea that continues to grow and flourish around the league. I look forward to seeing what teams come up with this upcoming season.
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