Does ice hockey have cheerleaders

In the realm of professional sports, the NHL has long been revered for its intense competition and passionate fan base.

However, a recent trend has emerged, bringing a touch of glamour to the ice: cheerleaders. While not as prevalent as in other leagues, such as the NBA and NFL, certain NHL teams have embraced the inclusion of cheerleaders, known as ice girls.

In this article, we will delve into the role of these performers, their responsibilities on and off the ice, and shed light on the NHL teams that have adopted this practice, providing a comprehensive look at the evolving game-day experience in the NHL.

On Ice Duties of NHL Ice Girls

The on ice duties of NHL ice girls encompass a range of tasks performed during stoppages of play. These duties include gathering snow from the ice to ensure smooth gameplay, collecting hats thrown onto the ice for hat tricks, and sometimes even removing a catfish, a tradition in Nashville that started in 2003. These tasks are typically performed several times per period to maintain the quality of the ice and facilitate the game.

However, there is potential for role expansion for NHL ice girls. They could potentially take on additional on ice duties such as assisting with equipment repairs, providing medical assistance, or even helping to clear the ice during longer stoppages.

In terms of gender diversity, there is a question of whether NHL teams should consider having co-ed ice crews instead of just ice girls. While the current trend is to have ice girls, some teams have already embraced co-ed ice crews. The New York Islanders replaced their ice girl squad in 2015 with a co-ed group. This not only promotes gender diversity but also ensures equal opportunities for all individuals interested in being a part of the ice crew.

Off Ice Duties of NHL Ice Girls

During their time off the ice, NHL ice girls are responsible for a variety of duties that engage and entertain the crowd and contribute to the overall fan experience.

Here are three key off-ice duties of NHL ice girls:

  1. Involvement in community events: NHL ice girls often attend corporate and community events with the team. They also visit nursing homes, hospitals, and schools to interact with fans and promote the team’s presence in the community. This involvement helps to build a sense of belonging and connection between the team and its fan base.
  2. Role in promoting team merchandise: Ice girls play an important role in promoting team merchandise. They can be seen in the stands, leading cheers and hand out merchandise to fans. Their presence and enthusiasm create a positive atmosphere and encourage fans to support the team by purchasing merchandise, further enhancing their sense of belonging and camaraderie.
  3. Engaging the crowd: Ice girls entertain the crowd with their dancing skills during breaks in play. They energize the fans, leading cheers and keeping the crowd engaged throughout the game. By actively involving the audience, the ice girls help to create a lively and enjoyable atmosphere for everyone in attendance.

History of Ice Girls in the NHL

Ice girls have become a prominent fixture in the NHL, with their presence dating back to the 2000-01 season when the New York Islanders became the first team to introduce them. This marked the beginning of a trend, as the Dallas Stars also adopted ice girls the following season.

The roles of ice girls have evolved over time, encompassing both on-ice and off-ice duties. On the ice, they gather snow during stoppages of play and collect hats thrown onto the ice for hat tricks. Off the ice, they entertain the crowd with dancing, lead cheers, and hand out merchandise. Ice girls also attend corporate and community events with the team, as well as visit nursing homes, hospitals, and schools.

Their presence has had a significant impact on the fan experience, adding to the overall excitement and entertainment value of NHL games. The number of NHL teams with ice girls has decreased from 21 in 2013 to the current 13, with some teams opting for co-ed ice crews instead. Despite this, ice girls continue to play a vital role in enhancing the fan experience at NHL games.

NHL Teams With Ice Girls

NHL teams employ ice girls as part of their game day experience. These ice girl programs have become a common feature in the NHL, adding to the excitement and entertainment for fans. These ice girl programs have a positive impact on the fan experience, creating a sense of community and belonging among supporters. They contribute to the overall entertainment value and help create a memorable game day experience for NHL fans.

Here are three NHL teams that currently have ice girl programs:

  1. Dallas Stars: The Stars have a group of ice girls who perform on and off the ice. They entertain the crowd with their dancing skills during breaks in the game, and also assist with various game-related duties.
  2. Tampa Bay Lightning: The Lightning have the Bolts Blue Crew, a team of ice girls who engage with fans, lead cheers, and distribute merchandise. They enhance the fan experience by bringing energy and enthusiasm to the stands.
  3. Vegas Golden Knights: The Knights have the Knights Guard, a squad of ice girls who contribute to the atmosphere at home games. They interact with fans, perform on the ice, and add to the overall excitement of the game.

Salary of NHL Ice Girls

Ice girls in the NHL are typically compensated with an hourly wage based on their part-time work, earning between $150 and $450 per week depending on the team and location. The average wage for NHL ice girls is around $15.00 per hour, and they usually work 10 to 30 hours per week.

However, it’s important to note that the wage can vary depending on factors such as the team’s budget, location, and market demand. Some teams may offer higher wages to attract top talent, while others may pay less due to budget constraints. Additionally, the cost of living in different cities can also impact the salary of NHL ice girls.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do NHL Teams Choose Their Ice Girls?

Selection process for NHL ice girls varies by team. Responsibilities include on ice duties like collecting hats and entertaining the crowd with dancing and cheers. Off ice duties include attending events and visiting nursing homes.

Are There Any Specific Requirements or Qualifications to Become an NHL Ice Girl?

The requirements to become an NHL ice girl vary by team, but generally involve strong skating skills, a friendly and outgoing personality, and the ability to entertain and engage fans. Salary expectations for NHL ice girls range from $150 to $450 per week. In addition to their on-ice duties, ice girls also play a crucial role in promoting team merchandise, leading cheers, and interacting with fans.

Do Ice Girls Receive Any Training or Preparation for Their On-Ice and Off-Ice Duties?

Ice girls receive training and preparation for their on-ice and off-ice duties. They learn how to properly perform their tasks, entertain the crowd, and promote team spirit. Additionally, they adhere to specific ice girl uniform guidelines to maintain a professional image.

Are NHL Ice Girls Exclusively Responsible for Collecting Hats and Catfish Thrown Onto the Ice, or Do Other Staff Members Assist Them?

NHL ice girls have additional responsibilities besides collecting items thrown onto the ice. They engage in game day coordination with other staff members to ensure smooth communication and efficient execution of their duties.

Do NHL Teams Provide Any Additional Benefits or Perks to Their Ice Girls, Apart From Their Hourly Wage?

NHL teams provide additional benefits and perks to their ice girls, apart from their hourly wage. These may include opportunities to attend corporate and community events, visit nursing homes and hospitals, and engage with fans during games.


In conclusion, the inclusion of cheerleaders, specifically ice girls, in the NHL has become a notable aspect of game-day operations for certain teams. These performers have both on and off ice duties, enhancing the overall fan engagement and creating a more dynamic game experience.

While not all NHL teams have adopted this practice, it is a growing trend within the league. The compensation for ice girls varies, but their contributions are valued in creating an exciting and entertaining atmosphere for fans.