What Is A Zamboni In Hockey?

Ice Hockey Zamboni

The Zamboni in ice hockey is a machine that resurfaces the ice. This is done so that when the players come back onto the ice at the start of the next period, the players have a smoother and easier surface to skate on. This prevents any “chattering,” “skipping,” or gritty feeling that players may have on non-smoothed ice. A Zamboni has a driver on top of it, controlling the different functions and driving across all the ice. Zambonis clean the ice after warmups and after the end of each period.

Additionally, Zamboni is actually only one brand of ice resurfacers, but it has become such a name brand though that all ice resurfacers are commonly referred to as Zambonis. 


FAQ

How does a Zamboni work?

There are four different functions/steps in what a Zamboni does in order to resurface the ice. The first step is shaving the ice as the Zamboni cuts the top 1/16th of the inch of ice using a sharp blade. Then, the Zamboni washes the ice using a water tank which feeds into a conditioner that washes the dirt, debris, and occasional blood from the top of the ice. This dirty water is then sucked back into a separate water tank for dirty water. After this, a mop deposits clean water onto the ice, which is usually hot to melt the remaining top layer of the ice. Gaskets at the back of the machine then makes sure the water spreads evenly across the ice. 

Why are ice resurfacers called Zambonis?

In hockey, the ice resurfacer machine is typically called a Zamboni. The reason for this is that the most common type of ice resurfacer used is made by the brand Zamboni. This is named after the man who invented the ice resurfacer, Frank Zamboni. In 1949, Zamboni invented the ice resurfacer in California, and soon his Zamboni became the most popular of all the ice resurfacers. Zamboni continues to be the most used brand of ice resurfacers today. 

What is a Zamboni driver in hockey and how do you become one?

A Zamboni driver in hockey is someone who is typically a hockey enthusiast and works on a part-time basis at games on entry-level wages. Their job is to drive the Zamboni machine and resurface the ice after use. This occurs after each period in a game, after practices, and after other events that utilize the ice. For most Zamboni drivers, there is no real certification needed to drive the Zamboni. New Zamboni drivers are usually trained by the old ones. However, if someone wants to become a full-time Zamboni driver for pro teams at large rinks, they usually get a Certified Ice Technician (CIT) professional designation. 

How much does a Zamboni cost?

Zambonis are very large machines that have very complicated mechanical parts. As a result, Zambonis are actually quite expensive. According to Zamboni’s website, small Zambonis go for $10,000 or more. If you are looking to buy a large Zamboni, which would be used by professional hockey teams in their arena, the cost is close to $100,000