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Cheerleaders too hot for Oilers?

Some Oilers fans say cheerleaders at games would ruin the longtime traditional hockey experience....

Some Oilers fans say cheerleaders at games would ruin the longtime traditional hockey experience. (QMI Agency/Darren Brown)

JEFF CUMMINGS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:39 PM ET

Plans by the Edmonton Oilers to have pompom-waving cheerleaders at games in Rexall Place should be sent to the penalty box — permanently — says an author of a new online petition against the idea.

Petition author Lisi Monro, 26, says a cheer team would ruin the longtime traditional experience at Rexall, and the sight of scantily clad cheerleaders on the ice is not part of the hockey culture in Canada.

"This isn't appropriate for a Canadian hockey team to have this kind of entertainment," said Monro about her petition at www.petitiononline.com/nocheer.

"I don't think this is hockey. (This type of entertainment) doesn't represent the tradition of the game."

Most QMI Agency readers seem to be in agreement.

Roughly 57% of respondents in a QMI Agency online poll voted against the idea of having an Oilers cheer team.

There are already 23 teams in the league that have cheer teams who entertain fans in the stands during stoppages in play.

And after attending several American NHL games that had cheerleaders in the stands, Oilers CEO Patrick LaForge said Thursday that the Edmonton club wanted to create a cheer team of their own to enhance the entertainment.

LaForge says the Edmonton hockey club has also received requests from fans to have a cheer team.

"This petition is for the people who don't feel (a cheer team) is right for the Oilers," said Monro, who describes herself as a passionate fan of the Copper and Blue.

"From the people that I talked to, the support seems overwhelmingly against having a cheer team."

Some who wrote on the petition say family experiences during Oilers games could be ruined by the cheer teams. Others, like Roy Sasano, called it an insult.

"I signed the petition because I think the NHL cheer teams are cheesy," said Sasano. "The fact that the Oilers have no requirement for experience is even an insult to those people out there who think cheerleading is a sport. If they want mere eye-candy, there is no shortage of that at Rexall as it is."

Seventy-one people had signed the petition as of 2:30 p.m. Friday.

The team says cheerleaders will perform during all home games and they will travel locally to participate in community events. They will also sign autographs and pose for pictures at the games.

An Edmonton Oilers Cheer Team Calendar will be launched during the holiday season.

The Oilers state in their website that there are no height and weight requirements, but they are looking for "athletic girls in good physical condition."

Cheer, dance, and gymnastics experience is helpful, but not an asset, says the team.

An info session will be held on Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m. at Telus Field for interested cheer team.

Preliminary auditions will take place Oct. 29 from 5:50 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the World Health Gateway location and continue in Oct. 30.

For more information, visit www.edmontonoilers.com/cheer.


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