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Ice Crew Auditions: Day One Recap


By Jason Seidling
Pittsburgh Penguins

The ice surface at the Iceoplex at Southpointe is usually home to shots, saves and checks as the Penguins use the Washington, Pa. skating rink to practice throughout the season. On Saturday it was spins, smiles and waves which filled the ice as the Penguins held Day One of female tryouts for the team’s first ever Ice Crew.

Male tryouts will be held on Wednesday, August 11.

Roughly 80 girls competed against one another in hopes of securing one of the 22 coveted invites to Sunday’s final tryout as Ice Crew coordinator Laura Spencer ran the group through tryouts.

While competition settings such as this can be mentally exhausting, Ice Crew tryouts had more of a family feel as many of the girls quickly formed a strong bond throughout the three-hour session.

“It was very refreshing to see all of the positive attitudes both on and off the ice,” Amanda Petrovich said. “Girls were clapping for each other when they came off the ice, especially if somebody fell, and that was very nice to see. Everybody showed great maturity out there today.”

“There was just a lot of encouragement today,” Megan Worbs added. “From Coach Spencer all the way down to my fellow girls, the support was just awesome to see. It made this a great experience.”

Saturday’s tryout began with a brief two-part interview session as the girls were divided into groups of five, with each group called into an interview room where they stood in front of three evaluators. Once in the room, the girls were asked why they want to be a member of the Ice Crew, and then they were asked to perform a spin or similar dance move.

There were two rooms conducting the interviews, so after the entire group went through once, the order was reversed and the girls were sent in a second time to the opposite room for Round Two.

Talking and performing in such a setting can be a bit nerve-wracking, but these girls seemed up to the challenge.

“I feel a little bit nervous, but I have auditioned before and nerves can actually be a good thing,” said Sonja Capuzzi prior to entering the interview room. “I keep reviewing some of the things that I plan on saying, so I hope that will help.”

Capuzzi’s practice must have paid off, because when she emerged from the first interview, she had a huge smile on her face and she was pleased with how things went.

“It wasn’t bad at all,” Capuzzi said. “You were able to feel very relaxed because Laura kept smiling at you and making you feel like a big deal. That made me even more comfortable. I think that helped me give a good answer. I told them I love to perform, I will work very hard for the team and I will do any tasks they ask me to fulfill.”

Carla Fuccaro agreed with Capuzzi that the interview process went well once inside the room.

“They really made you feel good,” Fuccaro said. “I think that allowed all the girls to give good answers. I thought that really helped me as I described myself as an outgoing personality and positive role model.”

Heather Martz said that getting a second chance to interview was a huge confidence booster for the girls.

“The first time through you are a bit nervous,” Martz said. “I realized that confidence matters and getting that second chance to show off a greater confidence was really important.”

Following the interviews it was time for the girls to hit the ice. Again, there was nervousness amongst the group as they all hoped to display their skills as best as they could.

“I am so nervous about having to stop,” said Ashley Faderewski just minutes before taking the ice. “I spent the whole week taking lessons on how to stop, so I hope they pay off.”

“I’m pumped to go out there even though I have never stopped before,” said Chelsea Garlick, Faderewski’s friend. “I’m hoping that I will have a wonderful first attempt.”

Faderewski, Garlick and the other girls had two cracks to impress during the on-ice portion of the tryout.

The first time the girls had to skate to the blue line, stop and wave, and then proceed to the next blue line where they had to properly pick up a puck. Finally, at the end they were able to perform a trick.

Speed was the theme the second time the girls hit the ice as they had to sprint to the opposite end, touch the far red line and then skate back. When they got to center ice on the way back they had to stop and do another wave.

“That went so much better than I expected,” said Dayna Jones following her second run.

“It’s such a rush and there is so much energy after you do that,” Tara Coyne added. “Everybody seems to have an extra bounce when they get off the ice.”

Nobody had more bounce it seemed than Faderewski and Garlick, each of whom was happy with how they performed.

“I stopped!” Faderewski exclaimed.

“I tried to stop and it ended up turning out decent,” said Garlick. “No matter what happens, though, at least we had fun out there.”

Once all the participants went through twice, all the girls left the ice and removed their skates. They then waited as Spencer and her group of evaluators deliberated who would make the final cut.

Following a one-hour break, Spencer emerged, gathered the group together, thanked everyone for coming out and delivered the news on who was advancing to Sunday’s final tryout.

Naturally, there were screams of joy and long faces of disappointment depending on the news each girl received. While a large majority of the ladies saw their dream come to an end on Saturday, perhaps Martz summed the day up best for everybody as she talked about what an honor it was for each of the girls to try out no matter what the end results were:

“This was just a great experience for everybody, whether you advanced to Sunday or not. I know that this is something that I will take with me as a positive experience and I hope all of the other girls do as well. What a great day the Penguins gave each one of us!”

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