For fans of the hit reality program The Amazing Race, there were two versions in North America this season. Both with a tinge of hockey, there was a Canadian version which aired its first season this past summer, while the twenty-third season of the US version began airing in the autumn.
The US season featured two members of the ice girls crew from the Los Angeles Kings, Allison Mello and Ashley Covert. Ironically, the Canadian version featured a handful of women’s hockey players from the CWHL that auditioned, with hopes of becoming contestants.
After a sensational rookie campaign, CWHL Rookie of the Year Ann-Sophie Bettez and CWHL leading scorer among defenders Cathy Chartrand auditioned for the part. Having played together with the McGill Martlets at the CIS level and with the famed Montreal Stars, the two have a natural rapport which makes them strong teammates. Quite possibly the odd couple of women’s hockey, the pint-sized Bettez and hulking Chartrand may have been different physically, but their love of the game and good natured humor were remarkable.
Another duo included Erika VanderVeer and Amber Bowman from the Toronto Furies. Having both excelled in traditionally male dominated fields, their audition carried a more serious tone. VanderVeer is an adrenaline junkie who works by day as an Art Director with the popular Hockey News publication. Bowman is one of the first female firefighters in her community. Having won a world championship in the World Firefighting Invitational, she is continuing to shatter barriers.
While these remarkable women were not included in the inaugural season of the Canadian version, their impact would have been memorable. Although it is hard to say what producers are looking for, there is no question that the dynamic duo of LA Kings ice girls add a dimension of competitiveness to the US version. It actually marks the second consecutive season that a group of individuals from the NHL are involved with the program. Last season, former Carolina Hurricanes skater Bates Battaglia was joined by his brother on the program. Of note, they finished as the winners at season’s end.
While Ally and Ashley may be considered eye candy by sports fans, there is more to them than mere beauty. Ally Mello is a graduate of California State University Long Beach who specialized in Communication Studies. While Kings legend Wayne Gretzky ranks among her all-time favorite athletes, she also supports some charitable organizations.
In addition to the Kings Care Foundation, she is an animal lover who supports the Society the Prevention of Animal Cruelty. With two dogs of her own, it is not uncommon they will join her on the beach while she is running or participating in volleyball. With ambitions to one day be a sportscaster, Mello is also an accomplished archer who has also run a full marathon.
Such endurance will be key in order to maintain competitiveness in the Amazing Race.
Joining her on this wonderful journey throughout the globe is Ashley Covert. Like Mello, she is also an alumni of California State University Long Beach. Having specialized in journalism and sociology, she has also contributed time to charitable work. Involved with the Antelope Valley Track Club, the club organizes a cross country race for students from various elementary schools.
Having both been part of the Ice Crew during the LA Kings magical run to the Stanley Cup in 2012, this ambitious duo is hoping to create some of their own magic. Although there are individuals from other pro sports involved, such as Houston Texans offensive tackle Ephraim Salaam and former Texans teammate Chester Pitts, these proud members of the Kings Ice Crew are competitive, ambitious and eager to prove that they can match the intensity and desire to win that their counterparts on the Kings possess.