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New RSO ‘Ice girls’ wants Men’s Hockey to achieve NCAA standing

Ice+Girls+is+a+new+RSO+created+by+Amanda+Wang%2C+senior+in+ACES%2C+to+help+promote+the+Division+1+hockey+team+at+the+University.
Ice Girls is a new RSO created by Amanda Wang, senior in ACES, to help promote the Division 1 hockey team at the University.

Ice Girls is a new RSO created by Amanda Wang, senior in ACES, to help promote the Division 1 hockey team at the University.

Brian Bauer

Brian Bauer

Ice Girls is a new RSO created by Amanda Wang, senior in ACES, to help promote the Division 1 hockey team at the University.

By Olivia Bievenue, Staff writer

The University is home to 10 men’s NCAA athletic teams, but ice hockey is not one of them.

The men’s ice hockey team at the University is instead part of a league called the American Collegiate Hockey Association. This means although they are not technically a Division 1 NCAA team, they still put in the time and effort of a Division 1 team, but without the usual funding from the University’s athletic program.

A new RSO on campus called the “Ice Girls” are trying to change that.

The Ice Girls was started by Amanda Wang, senior in ACES, after she approached hockey coach, Nick Fabbrini, and hockey team president and captain, Joey Ritondale, about forming a group that would promote and advertise for the hockey team around campus.

Wang wrote in an email that the Ice Girls would do anything from fundraising for the team, to keeping the crowd entertained during breaks in the game.

“The Ice Girls are responsible for promoting the Division 1 hockey team by developing marketing initiatives to increase ticket sales and student presence at games,” Wang wrote. “We help by selling raffle tickets at home games, facilitating fun promotional intermission events, and we also help clear the ice in between warm-ups and intermissions.”

Because the organization is new to campus, the specifics about what the club will do are not entirely clear yet. Wang and seven other girls who signed up to be Ice Girls at the end of last semester are planning the events and activities. They are also hosting a tryout on Sept. 14, to raise the number of Ice Girls to anywhere from 15 to 20 members.

Nicole Bakovich, sophomore in AHS, and current member of the Ice Girls wrote in an email that although the girls still have a lot to talk about and decide, they still have plenty of ideas about what they could do on and off the ice.

“There is still a lot of talk about exactly what we will be doing, but as of now, we will be doing things on the ice during intermission of the home hockey games which consists of things like “chuck the puck,” teddy bear toss, possibly t-shirt toss,” Bakovich wrote. “We will also be doing things off the ice throughout the games like split the pot.”

For students hopeful about joining the organization, there are not many strict requirements to join.

“In terms of requirements, we are looking for people who are outgoing, confident, peppy, comfortable skating on the ice and be comfortable with public speaking because we will be doing a lot of promotional things for the hockey team,” Bakovich wrote.

The University hockey team, whose first game of the season is Sept. 22, is often at a bit of a disadvantage compared to the other teams in the ACHA.  According to Ritondale, senior in AHS, most of the other teams in the league do receive funding from their University.

For the University hockey team, the ultimate goal is to become an official NCAA team.

However, they must come up with the funding on their own to travel and compete during the season. Since being on the team in itself is quite a time commitment, Ritondale said a lot of times the guys on the team struggle with promoting and getting the word out. He believes the Ice Girls will be a big help this year.

Ritondale said he and the team look forward to working with the Ice Girls and building a relationship with them that will be beneficial to both teams.

“I think the Ice Girls could be super successful with what they’re doing,” Ritondale said. “I think they’ll be a really good figure for our team. Hopefully, a lot of people will see them out on the quad during the day when classes are going on and at night at the games. I’m really excited for it, and I know a lot of people on the team are really excited about it.”

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1 Comment

  • Illinois Alum

    It would probably have been a good idea to talk about the various initiatives which are currently being considered by the athletic department and administration. E.g. the two proposals for building an arena in Champaign which would house an ice rink, and discussions between AD Whitman and NHL officials about adding a team.