January 03, 2011
The Gardens Ice House in Laurel, Md., recently held a charity fundraiser where, for $200, you could enroll in two sessions of its Zamboni School. Which also meant two sessions with rink owner and general manager Tom Hendrix, who is one of these guys who's so into his job that he speaks about it with a near-religious tone.
Example: "The Zamboni keeps the ice in check. The greatest thing about ice is that it's a forgiving thing. It forgives, if you know how to use your Zamboni." This guy is like BoniBuddah ...
Here's Sara Toth of the Laurel Leader and her Zamboni school experience:
(Those two minutes, incidentally, were more entertaining than an entire season of Junior Seau's "Sports Jobs" on VERSUS.)
A pure Zamboni driver, Hendrix said, back in the classroom, drives with his or her left hand, looking over the shoulder at the ice behind the machine. The Zamboni cuts 1/4 inch of the damaged ice from the surface with the use of an 80-pound, 6-foot stainless steel blade. Augers push the cut ice into a holding compartment in the center of the conditioner -- the mechanism inside a Zamboni that resurfaces the ice.
"I never knew that, that when they scraped it off, it stayed in the front (of the machine)," said Bill Hawkins, of Gleneg. "I always thought (the Zamboni) turned it back into the water that came out the back."
A separate tank holds 200 gallons of water kept at 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which is then flushed out onto the ice. "Hot water lays better, sets more quickly on the surface," Hendrix said.
Interesting stuff for Zamboni novices. Now if you'll excuse us, we need to call Tom Hendrix and ask his thoughts on whether we're driving the Zamboni or if the Zamboni is driving us ...