While the Penguins final team roster has yet to be determined, the organization has selected the female representatives for the 2011-12 Ice Crew.
The annual Ice Crew tryouts were held the past two weekends and the seven female members have been selected to represent this year’s squad.
Returning from last year’s team are Annie Federoff, Pamela Gerlowski, Tara Coyne and Michelle Moore, who will be joined by newcomers Rhiannon Kallis, Allyissa Darling and Emily Scott.
“It feels wonderful,” Pamela said about being selected for her second season. “I feel truly blessed to be here and to be standing here with these awesome girls.”
“It’s amazing. I’m stunned right now,” Allyissa said of being chosen. “It hasn’t sunk in yet. I keep checking my number to make sure it matches the (final) board.”
Over 50 women applied for a chance to be an Ice Crew member. From those applicants a first round of tryouts were held the final weekend in July, cutting the number of possibilities to 15.
Those 15 girls arrived at Southpointe early Saturday morning for a final round of auditions. (The men’s selections are here
). The ladies were tested on their skating and shoveling abilities as well as personalities to find the right fit for the Ice Crew team.
“Last week there was a wide variety of talent,” said Emily, a senior student at Duquesne University. “I thought the girls did well. This week was a little more competitive, but it was a lot of fun. We all did our best. They’re all really sweet girls so I’m definitely excited.”
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“It’s so nerve racking,” said Pamela, who is a marketing specialist with Apple Box Studios and also teaches 3rd grade CCD classes. “You’re thinking about technique and the words you say, posture, everything. It’s a lot to think about.”
The Ice Crew was a new addition to the Penguins organization during the 2010-11 season, the first at the brand-new CONSOL Energy Center. The crew not only cleans the ice during TV timeouts and entertains the fans during intermission, they are active representatives of the Penguins organization in the community and team events.
Tara, who is an elementary school teacher in her hometown of New Castle, loved her experience last year with the team.
“It was good. It was the (Ice Crew’s) first year on the ice and first year of cleaning,” she said. “I hope we were really entertaining. I don’t think the crowd knew what to expect with us. I think we really showed them that we are talented and athletic.”
Tara’s favorite memory from last season was the Game 7 showdown against Tampa Bay, despite the unfortunate outcome.
“Game 7 last year was awesome with the energy in the arena,” said Tara, who has spent this summer working in Disney World’s entertainment department. “It was disappointing that we didn’t win, but it was awesome to be around the energy in the crowd. It was great.”
And that energy is what has newcomers like Emily excited to get the season started.
“To be able to skate in front of 18,000 fans and get them pumped, they’re already a great crowd, but to get them more excited would be awesome,” said Emily, who is a lifelong Penguins fan and Pittsburgh native. “This is a dream job to work for the Penguins.”
Allyissa, who will be a freshman at Duquesne this fall, traveled all the way from Rochester, NY to tryout.
“I’m from Rochester and I didn’t know anyone,” she said. “I’m just moving to Pittsburgh. I met people going to my school. It was great.”
Sophomore Ice Crew member Pamela is ready to just get the season rolling:
“I’m definitely excited to get to know the whole team and all the new girls and guys, get practicing and get to work.”
From left to right: Tara Coyne, Rhiannon Kallis, Allyissa Darling, Pamela Gerlowski, Michelle Moore, Annie Federoff, Emily Scott