ROCHESTER, Minn. - If Lake Superior were to freeze over and you wanted to polish the ice with a single Zamboni, it would take 693 years. While they may be slow-rolling, these ice resurfacers play a major role at your favorite local ice rink.
“12 years ago I got a job with the City of Rochester and I had been involved with hockey years prior to that.”
Ever since then, it has been a dream come true for James McLaughlin, a building maintenance worker at Graham Arena. He had previous experience with vehicle maintenance, but nothing with Zamboni's.
“Oh yeah, everyone hears the song and wants to at least drive one once and it’s a fun job to have,” he said.
While driving one might be a lot of fun, it is quite the piece of complex equipment costing in the ballpark of $100,000.
“It cleans the ice, it shaves the ice down – the top layer, and then fills in the deep cuts, and then layers a new layer of water that freezes up behind it.”
Any remaining imperfections on the ice can be fixed up with some snow, a hockey puck, and some hewing gum remover.
The City of Rochester is seeking more part-time drivers for the arena. It takes approximately eight hours of training before being turned loose in front of a crowd.
“Every single year it’s a struggle to fill all the shifts. We try and keep 2-3 employees here at Graham at any given time and with four sheets of ice, we’re at a barebones skeleton crew most of the time.”