Alyse Barker spends her time in the stands, but she’s no ordinary face in the crowd. Barker is the Islanders’ new in-arena host: the face and voice of off-ice entertainment at Barclays Center, getting the crowd fired up during stoppages.
A trained dancer, a pageant winner, actress and all-around performer, Barker joins the Islanders for their inaugural season in Brooklyn. NewYorkIslanders.com sat down with Barker to talk about her new role.
NewYorkIslanders.com: So your first game was the Islanders’ 2-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on Nov. 3. How was that experience? And what was the most memorable moment from that night?
Alyse Barker: The first game was awesome; it was a lot of fun. I was getting my bearings together, understanding the stadium and when all the different segments will come in for me personally, but then I just tried to enjoy the game as well.
The most memorable moment was right before we started, listening to the national anthem. Just the way the crowd came together when the mic cut out and started to sing together, it was a really special moment.
NYI: So as the in-arena hostess, what are you going to bring to Islanders games?
AB: Someone that’s a lot of fun that the fans can really relate to. Someone that can have fun with the fans, have fun with the game and bring everything together where in between plays or whatever is going on, they are still having a really fun experience.
NYI: What’s your go-to move to get the fans fired up?
AB: I love a good chant. A good cheer and a chant.
NYI: What’s your pregame routine?
AB: I run through everything almost once without being interrupted. I need to go through everything, go over the script. But once I do that, I just let it go and go with the flow. You really can’t predict what’s going to happen. You can memorize everything, you can be in a certain way that it’s going to go – and then it won’t! Just throw it out the window.
NYI: Hockey players are renowned for their superstitions. Are you superstitious?
AB: I used to be superstitious and then I would continue those superstitions and then things would change. So personally I’m not anymore.
NYI: You’re a trained dancer and have some previous in-stadium experience as part of Jets Flight Crew. Tell us about that.
AB: I’ve been dancing since I was three, so cheerleading turned into my love as well. We really were a dance team, even though we’re called cheerleaders because you had to have a lot of technical training. I was also Miss New York 2009 for the Miss America organization, so I’ve danced ballet on point for that program and for that competition, which led into wanting to continue to being a part of sports teams and dance professionally.
NYI: You were Miss New York in 2009? What was that experience like?
AB: I represented the state for the year. I toured around, supporting the military, which was my goal. That was my platform for the year, but also beyond that. My grandfather was a WWII vet and I did a lot of work in the veterans’ community.
You can see Alyse at Islanders’ home games at Barclays Center all season long. Find tickets here.