ok. i've been a little out of touch with the echl world lately (because i've been spending so much time in the field), and i've just been checking up on happenings around the league and with the ice pilots (who, btw, have not really been sending out their email updates to my satisfaction). so when i just cruised around icepilots.com, i was quite surprised to learn that the team is planning to start up a cheerleading squad. wtf? cheerleaders? in hockey? pretty much the only time cheerleaders would have anything to do during a game is at intermission when there is nothing to cheer for. there are no sidelines from which to cheer the team on, and spreading out in the crowd is really ineffective (i know this from experience, as that was basically my job when i worked for the mobile wizards, mobile's complete failure of an af2 team. we put on stupid purple crushed velvet outfits - no room for body perception issues in those - and spread out in the 'crowd' trying to pump people up and doing the ymca and chicken dance in spotlights whenever those songs were played).
i know that a handful of nhl teams have cheerleaders (the carolina hurricanes come to mind), but i have always thought that cheerleaders at hockey games is a pretty ridiculous concept. it works for things like football and basketball, where those peppy people can stand on the sidelines and cheer on the team, and baseball could probably use some cheerleaders just to give people something to watch during all that down time. but in hockey? i just don't see the point.
on a different note, i also looked at the official list of players to whom the pilots extended qualifying offers. most of them, i was ok with. i think pretty much everyone knows that i kind of scoff every time i think about the fact that the team insists on keeping steward around, but i think the same thing about byfuglien. seriously? i mean, i like making fun of his name, and he did have the occasional moment of adequacy last season, but for the most part, his qualifying offer rates another 'wtf?'. i hate to say this, but i would rather have seen metcalf get a qualifying offer. i also hate to say that 'the calf' was really showing signs of improvement and made me go 'wtf?' and 'dammit, metcalf!' pretty rarely as last season progressed. were they just trying to fill up space and extend qualifying offers to the maximum number of players? because i don't think anyone would have minded just keeping four or five of those guys around and trying to build a new team around them.
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