Hey, the Patroons are getting a hype squad for next year!!

A great basketball team needs a dance team to compliment it.

And next season, the Albany Patroons are acquiring a ready-built dance team – er, hype squad.

Let me explain.

In the Patroons’ first iteration (1982-1993), the team had a set of dedicated dancers who would perform choreographed routines during breaks in the basketball action.  During those times, the dance squad was known as the Patties (probably not the best idea to name your female dance team after a colloquial term for hamburger meat), and then later on they were known as the Patroons Patrolle (not the greatest name either, but at that time they were using a costumed alligator for a mascot, so there you go).

In the Patroons’ second iteration (2005-2009), the dance squad was known as the Emeralds, and I can tell you from visual experience that the Emeralds were the classiest dance team in the CBA.  Good choreography, great dance moves, all the above.

Currently the Patroons are in their third iteration, and although there were some attempts to start a dance squad, it never really took flight.

But since the Arena Football League’s Albany Empire (and the league itself) have bit the dust, the Empire’s dance team have joined up with the Patroons, and will be the new Emeralds dance squad for the 2019-20 TBL season.  And now we have a hype squad.

Press release.

December 3, 2019
The Albany Emeralds Hype Squad will rebrand and expand to complement the Albany Patroons’ 2020 season.
ALBANY, N.Y. (Dec. 3, 2019) — The Albany Patroons, the 2019 TBL Champions, are proud to announce the formation of the new Albany Emeralds hype squad, made up from the former Albany Empire’s Empress dance team.
The change came about after the dissolving of the Albany Empire in efforts to continue showing support for the Albany Patroons and city pride. The team will now focus on engaging with fans both in the Armory during games and throughout the Capital Region community.
According to Emerald Team Manager Danielle Rojas, The Emeralds will be unique with the creation of a co-ed Hype Squad. The Emeralds will hold open auditions on Sunday, Dec. 15 at 2 p.m. at the Washington Avenue Armory – 195 Washington Avenue in Albany. The audition fee is $20 and pre-registration is not required. A final audition is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 20 at 7 p.m., location to be announced. Media, fans, family and friends are encouraged to attend the final audition which will be judged live.
Fans can expect to see professionally choreographed routines by the dancers. With the intimate Armory setting, Rojas said the Emeralds will focus on fan interaction through on and off court activity on game days.
The Emeralds share the Patroons’ mission of community engagement and will work alongside the Patroons with their ongoing community efforts. They will visit local schools and be present at community events to engage fans, communicate the Patroons message and generate excitement all season long.
“We were deeply saddened when we received the news of the AFL and the Empire shutting down,” said Rojas, “but when one door closes, another opened! We love our city and are so excited to have the opportunity to continue to entertain Albany sports fans with the Patroons!”

Two cool things about this.

First off, I’m down with a co-ed team.  The Patroons are totally inclusive, it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white, so long as you can play and score.  And it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, as long as you support Albany’s best pro sports team, you’re welcome to be part of the hype squad.

The other thing that’s cool about this – this isn’t the first time that a part of one organization has moved to another team.  I am reminded that Rowdy the River Rat, the Albany River Rats’ team mascot, moved over to the Tri-City ValleyCats for a time when the River Rats rebranded themselves as the Albany Devils.  So it’s a nice tie to the community.

Again … it’s nice to have a hype squad.

And tryouts for the hype squad begin on December 15, so if you have the skills and the talent and the dance ability and the energy … maybe the hype squad is something for you as well.

Trust me, if I wasn’t already excited for the Patroons to repeat as TBL champions this season …

This is an additional treat in and of itself.