N-ICE move: Rival Russian hockey team invites shunned cheerleaders to match after own club ditched them due to ‘jealous wives’
Russian ice hockey club Sochi have got one over on KHL rivals AK Bars in the popularity stakes after inviting a group of cheerleaders dumped by the Kazan club to their game on Tuesday night.
The Bars Angels support group were told by bosses that their services were no longer required just before the start of the season.
Reports suggested that the decision was made by the Kazan-based club as they wanted to move in a more ‘family-friendly’ direction – with former group leader Rigina Barieva explaining that “supposedly other people’s wives don't react very well to beautiful girls.”
The club is based in the capital of Russia’s Republic of Tatarstan, where Muslims outnumber Orthodox Christians.
However, officials denied suggestions that comments from the likes of Dagestani UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov – who called glamorous ring girls in MMA ‘unnecessary’ – had played any role in the decision.
With AK Bars traveling to the Black Sea to face Sochi on Tuesday, the hosts stepped in to show their support by flying the jilted cheerleaders to the game.
A post on the club’s social media accounts showed the dancers making the trip to the popular resort, adding the message: “We invited the support group Bars Angels to play against AK Bars today. Let’s make a great match together. We support bright cheerleading!”
Они должны были тут оказаться! Пригласили на сегодняшний матч с «Ак Барсом» группу поддержки Bars Angels. Сделаем вместе шикарный матч. Мы – за яркий чирлидинг!🔥 pic.twitter.com/zTgd9LciDj— ХК «Сочи» (@HCSOCHI) September 14, 2021
Taking to Instagram, Bars Angels thanked Sochi and their resident Sochi Queens cheerleader group for their hospitality, writing: “Today we’ll be supporting our beloved team again, AK Bars.”
The news of Bars Angels being dumped made headlines far and wide – including in the US – while some figures in Russia criticized the decision.
Former ice girl-turned-TV presenter Ulyana Trigubchak wrote an angry Instagram post, fuming: “Against the background of what is happening now in Afghanistan, such decisions by AK Bars are generally some kind of cringe.
“Tatarstan, will you soon put on a burqa for everyone? Or are you waiting for the arrival of the Taliban?”Also on rt.com ‘Will you make everyone wear a burqa?’ Backlash after Russian ice hockey club ditches cheerleaders because of ‘jealous’ wives
Bars Angels have set up a change.org petition where fans can voice their support. Just over 600 people have signed up so far, out of a target of 1,000.