With the start of the 2010-2011 Pittsburgh Penguins’ hockey season come many new things: the long awaited unveiling of the CONSOL Energy Center, a band of fresh faces named to the team roster, and the first Pittsburgh Penguins Ice Crew, a fourteen-member co-ed team created to bring an extra blast of energy and excitement to the Penguins’ games.
Among the fourteen selected for the 2010-2011 Pittsburgh Penguins Ice Crew are Sarah Cammarata and Cari Breed, two former synchronized skaters with the Robert Morris University Synchronized Skating Team.
Breed skated on the team for two seasons—2006-2008—and Cammarata from 2007-2008, the same year the team was named the 2008 Eastern Sectional Team Skating Championship Open Collegiate Silver Medalists.
In addition to synchro, both skaters also had successful singles careers. Cammarata, a USFS Double Gold Medalist in Free Skating and Moves in the Field, was a 2005 Holiday on Ice show skater in Germany, the Czech Republic, Holland, and France. She now coaches at the Ice Zone in Boardman, Ohio. Breed, a USFS Gold Medalist in Moves in the Field, works as a part-time coach at the RMU Island Sports Center.
“I started skating when I was nine; my mom brought me to an outdoor rink in Wheeling, West Virginia, and I loved it from the second I stepped on the ice, and I have never stopped,” said Cammarata, a graduate of Youngstown State University.
Breed has been skating for the last sixteen years after starting in group lessons at age seven.
Through several news announcements and an NHL.com post publicizing an open call for “girls eighteen and older who will skate and help clean the ice during TV timeouts,” Breed and Cammarata have found yet another way to spend their time on the ice. They were joined by approximately 80 ladies who turned out for the July 31 tryouts held at the Iceoplex at Southpointe in Canonsburg.
James Santilli, vice president of Penguins’ marketing, was specifically seeking individuals with “energy, athleticism, and passion for the Penguins.”
The two-day long tryout process included a short two-part group interview session in front of three evaluators, including Ice Crew coordinator, Laura Spencer, who gauged the ladies’ passion for the Pens and hockey knowledge, as well ascandidates’on-ice demonstration of required skills, such as stopping, proper puck pick up, a personal spin or dance move, and speed exercises.
At the end of the first day of tryouts, both Cammarata and Breed were among the twenty-two ladies who received an invite to Sunday’s final tryouts, which incorporated a second round of interview questions and covered on-ice drills that required Ice Crew hopefuls to skate two drills with bulky shovels used to clean the ice during games.
“They did a great job to make sure that you felt comfortable,” Cammarata told the Pittsburgh Penguins’ NHL.com Network website of her one-on-one interview. “One of the things that asked was what would be the most challenging part of being on the Ice Crew; I told them being on the dirty ice in hockey skates because I am used to clean ice and figure skates.”
Cammarata must have adjusted quickly. After the multifaceted interview process, both her and Breed were named to the Pens’ co-ed Ice Crew of eight ladies and six men.
As Pittsburgh Penguins Ice Crew members, Breed and Cammarata are responsible for signing autographs and taking photos with Pens fans; cleaning the ice during TV commercial breaks; assisting with in-arena promotions, contests, and intermission activities; assisting with special events/marketing promotions; and energizing and performing in front of crowds of more than 18,500 fans.
Catch Cammarata, Breed, and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins Ice Crew during the next home game when the Pens take on the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday, October 29 at 7:00 PM. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.