Kw-logo-smaller

Becoming a Wild Zamboni Driver

He watches NHL hockey games for free, he gets to meet celebrities and - best of all - he drives a big machine around an ice rink. Those are the perks that 31 year-old Travis Larson gets for being the Zamboni driver at the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minnesota - that's the ice rink where the Minnesota Wild hockey team plays.


What Do You Need to Do?

Travis started driving a Zamboni at smaller ice rinks where high school hockey teams play. He then went to a technical college in Minnesota where he studied Arena and Operations Managment for two years. Soon after, Travis began driving the Zamboni for college hockey games in the "state of hockey." He became the operations manager of the Xcel Energy Center when the Minnesota Wild started playing hockey there during the 2000-2001 season.


The Upside

"It's pretty neat when you're driving around the ice in front of 18,000 people. Fans stare at you and some wave, it's kinda cool," says Travis. He also likes meeting all the NHL stars that pass through the rink. Travis has met Wayne Gretzky and Steve Yzerman and he's also talked to the Dixie Chicks and the Barenaked Ladies when they've come to perform at the arena.


The Downside

Travis says operating an NHL ice rink can sometimes mean working some pretty long hours. Making sure the ice is ready to go isn't always that easy. "Sometimes if you're not watching what you're doing, you can miss a turn. When people first start driving, learning to make the turns is probably the hardest thing," says Travis. You also have to know how much water to put on the ice. If you put too much water down, players will complain that the ice is too slow. A recent survey ranked the ice in the Xcel Energy Center as the eighth best in the league, but Travis believes he can make his ice the best there is.


How's the $$$?

  • Operation managers at an NHL arena make $40,000 - $50,000 US.
  • A Zamboni driver makes around $13 an hour, depending on which arena you work at.

  • Related Stories:

  • Becoming a Whitewater Rafting Guide
  • Becoming a Snow Safety Patroller
  • Quiz! National Hockey League Trivia
  • More Cool Jobs!
  • 1 Comment

    latest videos

    F1136924900875

    Coolest Wheels Besides a Car?

    • Zamboni.
    • Bulldozer.
    • Tractor.
    • Hovercraft.

    related stories

    Dear Dish-It in the forums

    donteatcarrots
    donteatcarrots posted in Style:
    so, i have frizzy hair. do any of you guys have any tips or anything that'll help me look after my hair??
    reply about 3 hours
    Alois_Trancy_
    Alois_Trancy_ posted in Friends:
    "Rameza" wrote:My best friend just keeps back stabbing me.well to speak the truth we have been BFF's since 2nd Grade but when we reached into 5th grade she would talk all of these lies on me,once we had this big argument that we didn't speak to each other for 1 whole month.we forgived each other but now this group of girls would pick on me and #### ##### things about me behind my back.Now they treat me so nice and make all these jokes with me but at the end of the day it's the same routine over and over again.My mom tells me that their just jealous but it's making me drop back in my school work  now as usual I would probably say "kill them" but since this is correct grammar and punctuation I will take this seriously. Report them to the principal. Tell them how you feel. If it gets worse contact the police ( I've had to do this )
    reply about 20 hours
    jordand08
    jordand08 posted in Friends:
    When your friend starts to talk about you, and stabs you in the back. then maybe it's time to move on. In friendships, there will always be times when your friend hurt your feelings, but if it's being repeated, then maybe it's time to let go. Because some things aren't worth it.
    reply about 20 hours
    Alex227
    Alex227 posted in Friends:
    You should if you really want to, but I don't think it should matter the amount of knowledge you and your friends have, because friendship is merely friendship! :) Plus, when you tell them, it may come across as bragging and they would perceive you as a show-off. Hope this helps!
    reply about 23 hours
    hugebear
    hugebear posted in Friends:
    Congratulations on being gifted and getting all the opportunties what your getting :) You knows your friends better than any of us and how does you think they will react if you tell them?  Thinks about if one of your friends told you and how you would feel.  Be proud and enjoy your learning and you will meet other gifted people too in your classes and ask them their experiences too of how/if they told friends. If it was me then I probably wouldnt but thats just me personality. I wouldnt ever get in the gifted group anyway so I doesnt really have to think about this :)
    reply 1 day

    play online games