Kw-logo-smaller

Becoming a Wild Zamboni Driver

The Zamboni was invented by Frank J. Zamboni in 1950.
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!
  • >
    >

    readers voted!

    Comments

    allen

    allen wrote:

    Wow, this article was one of the first we ever created when we started KW.....quite a f...
    commented: Fri Sep 27, 2013

    there are 1 more comments

    Please login or register to add comments


    like this article?
    Sign up now to get more just like!

    latest videos

    F1136924900875

    Coolest Wheels Besides a Car?

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

    related stories

    Dear Dish-It in the forums

    american_brit
    american_brit posted in Friends:
    Nope. Not at all... It's just... too hard, ya know? XD
    reply 43 minutes
    Boysrock50
    Boysrock50 posted in Friends:
    "american_brit" wrote: "Boysrock50" wrote: Mate, just.. LET HER GO, LET HER GO, DON'T TALK TO HER ANYMORE LET HER GO, LET HER GO, IT IS HER YOU MUST IGNORE YOU SHOULDN'T CARE, WHAT SHE HAS TO SAY, YOU SHOULD JUST MOVE ON, YOUR FRIEND IS MORE IMPORTANT ANYWAY Nailed it XD Beautiful. All that friendship, compassion, mild rejection... poured out  into one song. Amazing. Tear jerker right there! *sobs* Okay... now that I'm done be extremely melodramatic, I agree 100% with what has been said. Loyalty to your friend is definitely what's best in the situation -and you've seem to be following through on this. Good. Now... can you just leave the girl alone? It might be better if you just ignore her.  thankyou, thankyou :P can you guess where my inspiration was from? :D
    reply about 1 hour
    american_brit
    american_brit posted in Friends:
    "Boysrock50" wrote: Mate, just.. LET HER GO, LET HER GO, DON'T TALK TO HER ANYMORE LET HER GO, LET HER GO, IT IS HER YOU MUST IGNORE YOU SHOULDN'T CARE, WHAT SHE HAS TO SAY, YOU SHOULD JUST MOVE ON, YOUR FRIEND IS MORE IMPORTANT ANYWAY Nailed it XD Beautiful. All that friendship, compassion, mild rejection... poured out  into one song. Amazing. Tear jerker right there! *sobs* Okay... now that I'm done be extremely melodramatic, I agree 100% with what has been said. Loyalty to your friend is definitely what's best in the situation -and you've seem to be following through on this. Good. Now... can you just leave the girl alone? It might be better if you just ignore her. 
    reply about 1 hour
    Boysrock50
    Boysrock50 posted in Friends:
    Mate, just.. LET HER GO, LET HER GO, DON'T TALK TO HER ANYMORE LET HER GO, LET HER GO, IT IS HER YOU MUST IGNORE YOU SHOULDN'T CARE, WHAT SHE HAS TO SAY, YOU SHOULD JUST MOVE ON, YOUR FRIEND IS MORE IMPORTANT ANYWAY Nailed it XD
    reply about 2 hours
    TXSL9
    TXSL9 posted in Friends:
    Or na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey goodbye
    reply about 2 hours

    play online games

    Candy-100

    A great online version of the famous Candy Crush. This is the best game launched...

    Big_icon_(7)

    Have you ever fancied being a ranger like those fantasy characters you love so m...

    Big_icon_(4)

    You run across the city in a car chase with the police officers.

    Big_icon_(6)

    The evil master kidnapped all of your friends!

    Big_icon_(5)

    Tic Tac Toe is back!