In the days that followed the Ice Team Auditions announcement, scores of vocal fans contacted the Sharks directly to let the team know they opposed creation of the "Ice Girls" squad. Thousands of fans took to social media, including Twitter and fans even established a SayNoToSharksIceGirls page on Facebook. By July 16, 2014, the Facebook page had more than 800 "likes," and Mr. Tortora, the Sharks Chief Operating Officer, was quoted in the San Jose Mercury News as stating the backlash was, "about what we expected."
Mark Purdy opposes creation of the Ice Girls squad and in a column on July 16, 2014, Mr. Purdy proposed a constructive, gender-neutral, alternative used at the Olympics in Sochi that would not alienate the community.
The Sharks Ice Girls controversy sparked Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News to pen a column concluding, "[I]t’s nice to see that fans of the franchise are standing up and saying that they like their hockey distraction-free."
Mr. Tortora said, "Our first priority is finding people who can skate and do a good job of cleaning the ice," but in reality the job requirements specifically state that the ability to skate is not required, unlike a "fit/athletic appearance" and looking good in a uniform with "skin exposure."
Even after sending out the announcement with cropped topped jerseys and appearance requirements, Sharks COO John Tortora said the team planned to proceed with plans to develop the "Ice Team" "in a way that works for us within our game experience..." He further called the team’s approach, "tasteful."
John Tortora characterized the Ice Girls as "progress" for the fan experience at the Tank. "[W]e don’t want to be status quo, on or off the ice. If you’re status quo, you aren’t progressing."