The Tears of a Clown

Now if there's a smile upon my face…

Canada ’08: Things to do with Zambonis

As anyone reading other blogs on this site regarding my travels will perhaps know. One of my favourite pastimes is to identify quirky, interesting and diverse stories from the North American media. Yet another story or two came to my attention in the past few days concerning that venerable Canadian institution – the Zamboni.

For those not in the know about such things, a Zamboni is a large ride-on machine that cleans the surface of a recreational or sports ice rink. It’s a much loved machine, I’m not quite sure why it’s held in quite such high affection but you just have to love the Zamboni.

Below are a couple of the only occasions however when I have witnessed the machine being the recipient of headline news.


An Ontario woman was charged with impaired driving after operating a Zamboni erratically at a hockey rink in Kingsville, Ontario.

An off-duty police officer who was there to watch his son’s hockey game arrested the woman as she got off the ice resurfacer. The sergeant observed the 34-year-old driver operating the machine in an erratic manner and missing large portions of the ice surface.

On more than one occasion the Zamboni struck the boards and at one point, the machine was stopped and the woman was seen slumped over the steering wheel. During the arrest, the officer found a flask of vodka in the woman’s pants pocket.”

This isn’t the first time someone has gotten in trouble while driving a Zamboni, the ice resurfacer named after its creator, Frank J. Zamboni. In 2006, two Idaho men were fired from their jobs at a local ice rink after taking a pair of Zambonis onto the street to pick up food at a Burger King drive-through window.


BOISE (AP) – Two employees of the city’s ice skating rink have been fired for making a midnight fast-food run in a pair of Zambonis.

An anonymous tipster reported seeing the two big ice-resurfacing machines chug through a Burger King drive-through and return to the rink around 12:30 a.m. on Nov. 10. The squat, rubber-tired vehicles, which have a top speed of about 5 mph, drove 1½ miles in all.

The Zamboni operators, both temporary city employees whose names and ages were not released by Parks and Recreation Department, had to negotiate at least one intersection with a traffic light on their late-night creep from Idaho Ice World.

“They were fired immediately,” said Parks Department Director Jim Hall. “We’re pretty sure it was just the one time. When we interviewed them, they didn’t seem to be too concerned about it. I don’t think they understood the seriousness of it.”

Hall said neither the $75,000 Zambonis nor their $10,000 blades appeared damaged, but the city could charge the employees with operating an unlicensed motor vehicle on a public street.”

January 1, 2009 - Posted by | On The Road | , ,

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