|Over eighty women showed up for the inaugural Kings Ice Crew. |
Close to eighty girls showed up on Monday, Sept. 8, at STAPLES Center for a five-hour audition for a chance to be on the inaugural LA Kings Ice Crew squad, set to make their debut on Sunday, Oct. 12 during the Kings home opener versus San Jose.
All indications are that the judges had a tough time deciding on the 10-12 that will make the squad.
"I am looking for girls that are energetic and that are good skaters," said Brooklyn Boyars, the Kings Manager, Game Presentation said. "Most importantly, we are looking for girls that will represent the Kings well."
Boyars, along with a crew of five judges from different departments across the Kings organization, evaluated the girls’ skating abilities on a set criteria: personality, starting and stopping, overall control on the ice, form, balance, turning ability and skating speed.
"I am looking for strong skating ability, for someone who is comfortable on the ice and for someone who can do the job with a lot of personality," said Sarah Marren, one of the judges.
After the girls registered and had a quick introductory presentation, Kings radio color analyst and former Kings forward Daryl Evans led the group through on-ice drills designed to allow the panel of judges to evaluate each girl on their ability to complete the Ice Crews’ tasks.
"I think for the most part, what is really encouraging is to see the level of all the skaters," Evans said. "When you have such a large group, I think you would expect to see some that have not been on ice before.
"We wanted to make sure the girls can turn on the ice, so we did some drills where they have to turn both ways. Stopping is also a big part of the task they are going to have to do and we did some drills with the shovel."
The candidates had a wide range of skating experience, some from the model/actress mold that were new to the ice, some were former Kings Crew members, while a large contingent were figure skaters and even some hockey players.
Three Kings Crew members – Anne, Michelle and Cindy – all auditioned for spots on the team.
|In addition to skating, turning, starting and stopping, the girls had to shovel the ice and clean up the debris after a hat trick. |
Cindy even took some classes to prepare.
"I took a hockey class with Daryl this summer and I have been trying to play when I could get out on the ice. I had a great time on the Kings Crew last season and Michelle talked me into auditioning for the Ice Girls. I think I have done okay."
The hockey lessons probably helped, at least it may have given her a leg up on Karen, an actress/model who was auditioning for the team, but admitted that it had been a while since she skated and she might be a tad rusty.
"I have to be honest, it has been a while since I skated, the last time I skated I was on a date when I was in the seventh grade," she said "I did not think everyone was going to be so great, there are some girls here doing the Triple Lutz, I am doing the Triple klutz."
One of the girls from that latter group was Charlotte, a Kings fan for 16 years and a figure skater for 12.
"I think I did alright in the tryouts. I have had a lot of fun and met some new friends. The hardest part has been getting used to the hockey skates as opposed to the figure skates."
Page, who formerly worked on the Angels Strike Force team agreed.
"This was my first time ever in hockey skates, it is a lot harder," she said. "I feel like this is The Cutting Edge and someone should be yelling 'toe pick.'"
Of course Page is referencing the 1992 'dramedy' starring Kings fan D.B. Sweeney and Moira Kelly, where Sweeney, who plays hockey star Doug Dorsey, attempts to transition to the world of figure skating.
During his early struggles, Kelly, who plays Kate Moseley, continuously taunts her partner with a chant of toe pick.
After a 30-minute break for the ice to be resurfaced, the audition moved from skating to actually performing the tasks the girls will be charged with, cleaning up the ice in the crease as well as a drill to clean up the ice after a hat trick.
"The shoveling was a little hard," Page said. “The snow actually stopped my momentum when I was skating. Besides that, I think I did well, I was a little nervous, but I love skating and I love doing stuff like this. I love fan interaction."
The fan interaction may be the most important part of the job.
"We barely had ice back when I played, much less Ice Girls," Evans said. "Things have changed. We have to keep the fans stimulated during breaks in the action.
"You have to find ways to keep the fans entertained, but not take too much away from the game. It is just a matter of finding that happy medium and the great blend."
Judging by the talent at the auditions, the 2008-09 Kings Ice Crew should have no problem find that blend.