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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.
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    Dear Dish-It In The Forums

    bookwormlestrange
    I don't have ADHD, but I know plenty about it. One of my friends has ADHD and Tourette's, and the teachers were always turds about it. Anyway, i think that a good way to deal with ADHD acting up is either changing medication or trying to eat foods or drinks with caffeine. I'm not sure if it works for you, but a lot of people with ADHD have seen significant improvements after putting caffeine in their systems. If your friends are acting like turds, you need better friends. I hope my advice helps.
    reply about 3 hours
    SmartSunnyShadow
    I have one so annoying sister, that it feels like I have 200 of them, oh my god. She's pounding on the door right now, HELP! 
    reply about 15 hours
    SmartSunnyShadow
    Dad, obviously. I can't even explain what he does to me!
    reply about 15 hours
    SmartSunnyShadow
    Well, if they are your BFFs, they shouldn't be teasing you to make you feel bad. Me, and my BFFs tease each other all the time playfully, but I understand that this is different, and if it's making you feel bad it isn't playful at all.   Maybe your eldest friend is having some trouble with family issues, bad grades, body changes, etc. It's okay to be angry, so maybe you should leave her space for a few days, and see if it turns better. If it isn't, then try to first make her calm down. Then, make her talk to you about why she is so angry and ask if you can try to help. If nothing turns out better, tell her that you feel uncomfortable, and you want her to talk to you.  For your 3rd eldest friend, support her as much as possible, and stand up for her in this terrible situation. If you are all BFFs, then you should all be very close and comfortable around each other, and the fight shouldn't last long. If not, they are not your real friends, and you have to go on without them. I have tons of advice on how to make new friends, so just ask me if you want to know. Your 2nd eldest friend seems to be the main problem.  First of all, tell her to stop, and say how you don't like her bullying you. You must say what she is doing wrong, and how it makes you feel. If she doesn't care, tell her you're serious, and you hate what she is doing to you. If it continues, ignore what trash she is saying, and just simply walk away. Focus on other things that will help make you feel better. Remember, all she is is a person, and it's up to you to act appropriately.  Stay positive, and calm. Focus on other things, and if she continues, tell her that you can all be friends and you miss her. Go get another friend to stand up with you, and tell her that you will report to an adult if she won't stop. She may be your friend, but she deserves it. I told on my BFF when she was mean, so it's all okay now.  If all else fails, get a trusted adult, and hang out with nicer friends. Your other friends will learn from their mistakes. If not, warn them, and give them a sincere kindness note of how you miss being friends. Then, also give one to the bully.
    reply about 15 hours
    AnnaOfExquizurd
    Yeah, @CyclonicBass the best option really is to find a girl with a quirky personality. Become friends with her. Possibly, over time, she'll grow close to you and accept a request to be with you. Hope it goes well!
    reply 1 day