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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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    F1136924900875

    Coolest Wheels Besides a Car?

    • Zamboni.
    • Bulldozer.
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    • Hovercraft.

    Dear Dish-It In The Forums

    Kirsteeeeen
    Kirsteeeeen posted in Friends:
    I hope you don't mind that I moved this to friends, but I thought it'd be more fitting since your question seems mainly friendship based. :) Do you mind being younger than your classmates? Do you feel it inhibits your school experience? I think you should do what feels best to you, whether that be staying behind because friendship has a big impact, or continuing ahead if you prioritize academic growth. Only you know what's right for you. :p If it's any help, I left high school early and went to college. I was already used to being the youngest in my class so it wasn't a huge jump socially, and I found a lot of friends of all ages. :D With that being said, I do still miss being with people my age but it's too late to go back and I wouldn't trade my experience for the world.
    reply about 2 hours
    YassenGregorovich
    I'm 13 and will be going on to 9th grade. I skipped kindergarted  :p and 5th grade. So I'm a lot younger then most of my classmates will be. I'm thinking of repeating 8th grade so I will be more of the same age as the other people in my class. But I'm not sure if I should because I got a B+ or A- average in 8th grade. I need some advice on this. Sorry if this is the wrong section for this I just thought general was the right place. Thanks!  :D
    reply about 17 hours
    aftershock
    aftershock posted in Style:
    Thanks all of you guys for your responses. It seems many of you don't share pics to get help from friends when you're choosing. Thats OK. If anyone does want to go on the VIP list to be the first to try the new app then feel free to complete the info form here: http://goo.gl/forms/FOiKWa4DoAQHxtOx1 
    reply about 19 hours
    CoolerThanMyself
    I'm a 12 year old girl with really strict parents! I do chores( even handling BLEACH sometimes) , I take care of my little brother, I'm in top set for all my classes- even on the gifted and talented register and I've only ever had 1 detention- and that was their fault anyway bc I was late( they drive). But, I'm still NEVER allowed out with my friends! My friends are all in top sets as well, are well behaved and all we literally would do is window shopping. I mean, there are my age smoking shisha and doing #####- they should be lucky I'm not a delinquent! But my parents always say I can't hang out. Not because they're worried about my safety, they just dont want me to go out.! Even sleepovers, my parents always say no because they ' haven't met the parents" but they make NO effort to do so. I'm losing out on knowing my friends better and whilst they're all making best friends, at school I'm just the person in the background- the left out friend. It hurts and most of the time I wish I was fostered or something. How can I make them loosen up? ( don't say anything about sneaking out because I chose life)
    reply 2 days
    Corps
    Corps posted in Style:
    Thank You Mate :)
    reply 2 days