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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.

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  • 1 Comment

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    Coolest Wheels Besides a Car?

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    Dear Dish-It In The Forums

    CoolAsalah
    "Kirsteeeeen" wrote: I am so sorry for your loss. It must be tough going through this at the moment, losing someone is always a difficult situation. Grief can be unsettling and uncomfortable, but is a normal and necessary part of grieving and getting yourself through these types of things. I encourage you to continue to remember her, whether it be through stories or drawings or other ways you might express your good memories together. You could also do something in her memory such as plant a tree. Healing from loss takes time. There's no magic fix that'll make you feel better overnight. You just have to let yourself go through the process and eventually you will feel better. I promise. I'm also here if you feel like talking about it at any time, just send me a request. ​Tysm [s:sm3/1jw1] [s:sm3/1jw1]
    reply 1 day
    Kirsteeeeen
    This is going to sound completely cliche, but the best thing is to just be yourself. You'll make friends no problem. People can tell when you're being genuine or not, and they definitely appreciate you for who you are more than if you tried to be someone else. You got this, it'll be a fun and exciting experience. :)
    reply 3 days
    Kirsteeeeen
    I am so sorry for your loss. It must be tough going through this at the moment, losing someone is always a difficult situation. Grief can be unsettling and uncomfortable, but is a normal and necessary part of grieving and getting yourself through these types of things. I encourage you to continue to remember her, whether it be through stories or drawings or other ways you might express your good memories together. You could also do something in her memory such as plant a tree. Healing from loss takes time. There's no magic fix that'll make you feel better overnight. You just have to let yourself go through the process and eventually you will feel better. I promise. I'm also here if you feel like talking about it at any time, just send me a request.
    reply 3 days
    Kirsteeeeen
    Kirsteeeeen posted in Style:
    On a typical day I wear a pair of ripped jeans and either a hoodie or jacket, and a snapback. The opposite would probably be a dress lmao.
    reply 3 days
    Kirsteeeeen
    Kirsteeeeen posted in Style:
    I also love expensive clothing. Brand names are my thing. But I always shop either during sale times or at second hand stores. Sales are my best friend, honestly. It might be frustrating to wait, but it's worth it in the end. Shop only on sale racks in big stores, and scout out smaller second hand stores that often carry brand names, never worn, but for a cheaper price.
    reply 3 days