Friday, 5 August 2011


Saturday night's hockey game* here in Christchurch had two cheerleading squads: one cheering on the Canadians, the other, the Americans. They were introduced as the Calendar Girls Cheerleading Squad.

For folks outside of New Zealand, Calendar Girls is a strip club. I'm not going to link there from here, but their site says the VIP rooms include a "full service" option; prostitution is legal in New Zealand.

So I thought it was remarkable both that a family-oriented event like a hockey game would have strippers as cheerleaders and that nobody would particularly mind. We were sitting a good distance from where the cheerleaders were, but they seemed more competent in cheerleading than I would have expected; Susan, who was watching the cheerleading more closely than I was (I was watching the hockey - seriously), was rather sure that one or two girls were far too young to be employed by Calendar Girls. She thought one of the Calendar Girls might have brought her daughter along. It all seemed really odd. I didn't see the girls well enough to gauge ages, but it didn't seem crazy to think that Calendar Girls might have diversified into other business lines with the loss of their downtown venue to the earthquake red zone.

Well, I was wrong on two counts. First, the girls' only affiliation with Calendar Girls was that they found out rather late in the game that they were sponsored by a strip club / brothel. And that then leads to the second: folks very rightly minded.
A row has broken out after a group of young cheerleaders, including one aged nine, was used to promote Christchurch strip club Calendar Girls.

The All Star Cheerleaders performed at an international ice hockey match on Saturday night at the CBS Canterbury Arena.

Coach Claire Stackhouse said the group did not expect to be associated with Calendar Girls.

She was not in town for the event but said she had been told the cheerleaders, mostly 15 and 16-year-old girls, were introduced as the Calendar Girls cheerleaders.

She said some parents were concerned.
The owner of Calendar Girls claims to have asked the cheerleading coach for an older group of cheerleaders and for that the cheerleaders be well warned of the sponsorship arrangement so that anyone objecting could pull out. The parents say they had no clue 'till the night of the event. I've no clue where blame lies, but I can well imagine that a whole lot of parents - and the cheerleaders - would rightly be more than a bit annoyed if the coach didn't tell them about the sponsorship arrangement.

I do like though that there would have been no controversy about the sponsorship had the group been older and informed.

*For those interested, a team of Canadian former NHLers and minor league players beat a similarly composed American team 7-3. The first period was dull: each team ran only two lines and were changing shifts every minute or less; the defencemen who should have run point would change shift when their team hit the offensive zone and the offensive line would change shift while the opponents then ran back to the defensive zone. Lots of back and forth, but only because nobody was playing very hard. Things really picked up in the third period: they actually kept the defencemen on point and so were able to start building plays.

Being in Christchurch in an arena filled with folks in NHL garb and surrounded by US and Canadian flags was surreal. One side of the arena was meant to be for Canadian supporters; the other side, for Americans. But there must have been rather more Canadian supporters as I didn't see any US flags over on the Canadian side where we sat but a fair number over on the US side.

Oh: @Asgardsfall seems to have caught me at the game...

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