A social media campaign burned up the online hockey world, prompting Chicago to do a quick about-face on what critics saw as a demeaning intermission tradition.
Chicago fans discovered the power of the hashtag this week as the Blackhawks did indeed "Ban 'The Stripper.' "
As detailed in an excellent rundown by Puck Daddy's Harrison Mooney, supporters of the Western powerhouse were fed up with the team organist Frank Pellico playing "The Stripper" every time an attractive young woman played the "Shoot the Puck" game during intermission at the United Center. A Twitter campaign began using the hashtag #BanTheStripper and the movement quickly caught fire.
One day after Mooney's post went up, Blackhawks CEO John McDonough was questioned about the controversy by Chicago Sun-Times reporter Mark Lazerus (who had previously spoken out about the embarrassment). McDonough's response was exactly what the fans wanted to hear: "I think you've heard the last of Frank Pellico playing 'The Stripper.' "
So score one for the masses.
Of course, not everyone was happy about this turn of events. Based on numerous comments left on Puck Daddy and Twitter, via #BanTheStripper, there are folks out there upset their Hawks game experience will be less sleazy now.
To them, I say sorry, but SUCK IT UP.
You say the Hawks have played that song forever and they shouldn't have to stop now? Let's not go down the rabbit hole of what used to be OK in society. True hockey fans go to a hockey game for one reason and that's hockey. A lot of those fans are female and they're just as hardcore as the dudes.
And no, this doesn't stop with organ music. Chicago fans are also upset about the fact the team still uses ice girls in skimpy attire. They would also like one or two female moderators at the team's incredibly successful team convention next year (according to the Blackhawks, they have had female moderators in the past). Considering the fact San Jose fans are also protesting about their team's new ice crew, it's becoming quite apparent that hockey fandom is becoming more vocal about how the female gender is treated at games. This is a good thing.
Why should women be subjected to a loutish environment when they go to NHL games? What part of sitting in a chair next to a bunch of other people is masculine? More importantly, why do some men still feel like it's OK to catcall or even grope women at these games? If playing "The Stripper" validated how some of these fellas felt and acted, then Hawks games will now be a better place with its banishment.
I realize some guys don't understand "what the big deal is" because they would welcome a woman groping them or talking dirty, but that's not the right comparison for a patriarchal society. Imagine instead, bro, if a drunk gay man groped you at a game without permission and said he wanted to take you home. Then you'd understand why women find this behavior a big deal.
Edited to reflect that the Blackhawks have featured female panel moderators at their convention in the past.