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

    carolyna_03
    carolyna_03 posted in Friends:
    Dear dish it, plz help my friends treat me like a third wheel everyday I'm happy but then I'm ether getting left out pushed to the curb or something like that. I want to ditch them but I don't have anyone else to talk to or hang with, I was lonely at school because they weren't there help! Wat do I do
    reply about 15 hours
    Flamesword15
    Flamesword15 posted in Friends:
    Friends are hard to find, I will say that, but it's easy to make new friends:)<3
    reply about 19 hours
    Colorpaw
    Colorpaw posted in Family Issues:
      "Colorpaw" wrote: God yes! My mom would kill me if she found me on this site! -.- It gets annoying sometimes. My dad is strict too, but maybe not as much. I have to keep sites where I have any kind of interaction with people I haven't met face to face a secret, and it gets hard sometimes because I'm on quite a few roleplay sites which obviously involve chatting/interacting with people. I trust everybody on those sites though, but try telling my mom that.     My parents have gotten a lot better since then, but they're still strict about the chat sites and all. My mom is still very strict, but not nearly as much as then. I guess it's because I've gotten older. I'll be 13 in a few days. c: ALSO. If any of you saw my other post, pretend you didn't xD For some reason I thought I'd posted the original forum post. xDD I guess that's what happens when you haven't been on a site in a couple of years, you start forgetting things.  
    reply about 19 hours
    tweenblogger
    Thanks so much.  :love
    reply about 20 hours
    Shannyboo3
    I know exactly how you feel.  I'm going through the same thing. The thing to know is none of it's your fault.  And you can visit your mom or your dad.  You can try to get your mind of it by hanging out with your friends at school.  I feel your pain.   And I feel bad that this kind of stuff happens in life.  But god will make everything better. :)
    reply about 20 hours

    play online games