Friday, September 19, 2008

Bruins select Ice Girls for upcoming NHL season 

Posted by Sasha at 10:31 AM ET

2008-09 Ice Girls Team is Picked
Over 150 applicants vied for a spot

John Bishop | BostonBruins.com
[Ice Girl Tryouts Gallery] [Sam's Audition Gallery]

Boston, MA -- Over 150 young women applied to try out for a place on the 2008-09 Boston Bruins Ice Girls squad. As just one of the throng that showed up at the TD Banknorth Garden on Sunday, September 14th, Ice Girl Samantha, who has been on the team for the past two seasons, was just thrilled to be back and trying out for her third berth on the squad.

“Last year was an incredible experience,” said Sam, while warming up for her turn in front of the judges. “Both years were, really.

“To be at the Garden and be a part of the excitement here, and to feel like I’m a part of it in any way – not just being at the games like I used to be – but also being a part of what’s fun about the Garden, has been outstanding.”

The Ice Girls, who act as representatives of the Black & Gold both at home games and events around the area, have become fan favorites. Yes, they wear sexy outfits, and, yes, they throw t-shirts and prizes into the crowd, but each of the ladies feels as if they can improve the Hub of Hockey, and they all know that through the team, they can impact the community in a very tangible way.

Through hockey clinics, charity fundraisers, fan interaction and their undying support of the Bruins, these young women attempt to spread the Black & Gold message whenever and wherever the players are unable to do so themselves.

“I was never a cheerleader, and it is a misconception a lot of times that we are simply cheerleaders,” said Sam. “In fact, we are really ambassadors for the team.

“We cheer on the team, like fans, and we get excited when the Bruins do well, but we are not just here dancing at the Garden in a way that’s removed from the crowd.”

How so?

“We are very interactive with the crowd,” explained Sam who said that Ice Girls often sit, one-on-one, with fans and ask them about their experiences and report back to the club.

And anyone who has been to a game over the last two seasons can attest to the team’s presence throughout the stadium, greeting long-time season ticket-holders, aiding with on-ice contests and ensuring that fans are having a good time.

The Ice Girls job doesn’t end when the buzzer sounds, though.

“On weekends or off-days when the team is away, we are in the community, not just with community service, but talking with fans and getting to know them and getting to know what they like and relaying that to the organization,” Sam explained. “And I think the fans enjoy having an opportunity to interact.

“Bruins fans are so invested in their team. Sure, there are people who are just there for the excitement of an event, but there are so many B’s fans that are so passionate about the team and up until now they’ve had the chance to watch the Bruins, but they may never have had the opportunity to be approached by the organization.

“I think that’s where we come in,” she said.

If that weren’t enough to dissuade those who would deride the Ice Girls’ role, Sam’s resume, which is just one representation of a diverse and varied group of talented women, should give people a reason to think twice about generalizing about the group.

“I am a psychology major [at a major university in Boston], and I work with children who are overcoming adverse family situations,” said Sam of her academic life. “I’d like to be a clinical psychologist, and I’ll be applying to a seven-year doctoral program. I’d like to work with children in that same population.”

She also pointed out that, for the Ice Girls, being part of the squad isn’t about attention.

“Every single girl who gets chosen for this team is a huge Bruins fan and wants to see the B’s win and do well more than they care about being an Ice Girl,” Sam said. “And being able to take what I’ve learned through this job back to school and my life – in how it’s made me more confident and helped me show my personality – it’s been a really exciting experience.”

Despite all of this, the talented young woman was concerned before the tryout that her remaining time in The Hub of Hockey was short.

“Today is very nerve-wracking because there are a lot of incredible girls that walk in here. Not only are they gorgeous, but also every girl in here has a great personality,” she said, “and it’s really exciting to see, each year, the group of girls get even more talented, but talented in ways that people may not realize.

“We have a lot of extremely bright women, and every year the pool gets even more competitive.”

Later Sunday evening, after she was re-named to the squad, Sam confessed, “It was so exciting to hear my name called and receive our roses as we were accepted, and it was a great feeling to be back as part of this group again.

“Every year that we’ve been part of the team, we’ve made some changes, and we’ve been growing as a team…we really are a family and are really excited for each other.”

Always a B’s fan first and foremost, Sam also remained fixated on the Boston Bruins and their resurgence.

“We expect a lot this season,” said the now three-time Boston Bruins Ice Girl. “They gave us a little taste of it last season, so we’ll be expecting bigger and better this year, especially with Patrice [Bergeron] back on the ice.

“The playoffs last year were incredible, and I would sometimes forget that I was there as an Ice Girl and just become the fan that I always was.”

Spoken like a true ambassador for The Hub of Hockey.

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