Thursday, September 11, 2008
By Craig Ostroff
If she could, Kathryn Quinn would gladly lace up the skates and take to the ice as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers.
Instead, she's more than happy to be a part of the next-best-thing.
After a long, rigorous tryout Aug. 24, the Royersford native was selected as a member of the Delta Dental Ice Team.
"I just thought representing the Flyers would be a wonderful experience," said Quinn, a 19-year-old pharmaceutical product development major in her sophomore year at West Chester University. "I come from a huge family. They're all from this area and they're all huge Philadelphia sports fans. That was really my motivation, that it would make my family so proud, and I thought it would just be the coolest job ever."
Members of the Delta Dental Ice Team serve as cheerleaders, dancing and rooting for the team from the aisles of the Wachovia Center. Team members also don the skates and clear snow off the ice during commercial breaks, shovel hats after hat tricks, and entertain the crowd between periods.
More than 60 young women showed up to the annual tryouts, according to a video in the Flyers TV section of PhiladelphiaFlyers.com (in which you can see Quinn several times), showing off their ability to dance and skate.
"They had a couple of skate tests," Quinn said. "They have you skate forward, backward and do a crossover on the ice. In another test you had to duck under a bar that was positioned on two chairs.
"There was another test where you had to shoot a hockey puck in the net ... I missed," she said with a laugh. "I'm a lefty and they gave us a goalie stick for the lefties."
But it wasn't all about their grace on skates. Quinn said the applicants also needed to impress with their personalities as well.
"There was an interview round, which I think was my strong point. There were seven or eight of us sitting around and a group of judges. Then we had a photo test and a personal [one-on-one] interview."
Quinn, a lifelong hockey fan who can rattle off insightful facts about the team and players - as well as point out that Scottie Upshall is the cutest of those who wear the orange-and-black - will have her first chance to strut her stuff when the Flyers open the preseason at home against the New Jersey Devils on Sept. 22.
"I've been to games, but I can't imagine what it's going to be like to be on the ice, in front of 20,000 people at the Wachovia Center," Quinn said. "I'm just worried about falling on the ice. I'm hoping I get a few games under my belt before I fall. Being a rookie, I just hope I don't make too many rookie mistakes."
As a member of the Delta Dental Ice Team (Quinn said one of the first lessons she learned was to always refer to the group by its full name, never simply as the "ice team"), Quinn will appear at all Flyers home games, from the preseason to (hopefully) deep into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Members of the ice team also make community appearances.
Before the first puck is dropped, Quinn will have a few practice sessions at the Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J., to get better acquainted with her duties and routines ... and a few tricks of the trade.
"They'll go over how to get the [ice in front of the] opposing team's net a little cleaner, because the snow stops the puck," she said.
And once the season begins and Quinn is able to put on her own version of the orange-and-black?
"I know it's going to be a lot of fun," she said. "I love just going out and having fun.
"The Delta Dental Ice Team is very much my thing. Representing the Flyers is a big thing. It's an honor to be able to represent them."