Ice girls: poor pay, lousy conditions, great exposure

Nothing says hockey like women in skimpy outfits cleaning the ice.

“Ice girls” are the offspring of the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders, the group that started the sports trend of mixing sport with lots of flesh.

What kind of life is it? Mother Jones, which recently reported on the outrageous working conditions of “cheerleaders” for NFL teams, this week wrote about ice girls, specifically those for the Los Angeles Kings, the team that is about to win the Stanley Cup.

The parallels are apparent: lousy pay, poor working conditions, and plenty of exposure.

There’s no arguing that professional cheerleaders are hired, in part, as eye candy for fans. Yet the Kings’ ice girls said they were expected not only to do their own hair and makeup, but to pay for their supplies. They were also instructed to consult their manager before cutting or dying their hair. And while other beauty standards weren’t explicit, the women knew they were expected to look good. One woman recalled her boss saying, “The Ducks girls [Anaheim’s hockey team] get weighed in, and you don’t, so you should feel lucky.” (A Ducks spokesman told me that the ice team does do fitness testing, but the women are not weighed in.)

The Kings women I spoke with were paid about $15 per hour for corporate and charity appearances, and less for games—they worked between 10 and 30 hours per week. But some of them spent as much as $350 per month on makeup, including foundation (camera flash-ready, not loose powder), eyebrow waxing, teeth whitening, and hair supplies. The Flyers women had professional makeup people and hair stylists, but they made significantly less money—$50 for about seven hours of work on game day. A Kings representative declined to comment on the women’s claims, and the Flyers did not respond to detailed voice and email messages.

  • Al


  • Gary F

    And they knew all that when they took the job.
    And if they didn’t, why don’t they quit?
    There are lots of jobs that pay more than that.

  • Ralphy

    Meanwhile, in the WNBA, team owners are discussing putting more men in the seats by having the players wear fitted, tight tops and shorter shorts. (Reported in Mother Jones).

    • Chuck

      Oh fer Pete’s sake! So for the sake of equivalence, shouldn’t the men wear singlets?

  • Dave

    You gotta be kidding me. I thought for sure that cheerleading was a great job with excellent pay and benefits, opportunities for advancement, etc., what with the enormous barriers to entry and strict educational requirements.

    • kevinfromminneapolis


  • Nerdgasm

    They are young, they are hot, and they love to show off their bodies, and we like to look at them. Does the money really matter? Are they not buying make-up and getting their teeth whitened and getting waxed anyways? Would they be pale, yellow toothed, hairy messes if they weren’t doing their little number out on the ice for four months a year? Please! There would be no shortage of hot women willing to be a cheerleader for a professional sports team even if they didn’t get paid a thing.

    • DavidG

      All those computer geeks at tech companies would be writing code at home. Does the money really matter?

      • John

        I think it’s a prime example of supply and demand. There are relatively few positions to do this job, and lots of people willing and able to do it, so the pay is low. Welcome to capitalism.

        The computer geeks would be writing at home, but they are highly specialized and there really aren’t that many of them. The demand is high, the supply is low, so they get paid a lot more.

        The money only matters in the sense that the job will pay what the market will bear. It appears $10-$15 an hour is about what the market will bear for this job.

  • kevinfromminneapolis

    For what it’s worth: Don’t assume they’re all dumb just because this is what they do.

    • Ma Barker

      Maybe they should use some of their putative brain-power to find work in another field with better pay and work conditions…

      And save the violins for laborers who truely deserve the pity party.

  • John

    By the way Bob – good use of “exposure” in your lede. Golf clap.