A couple columns ago I mentioned how we were invited to the Zamboni challenge in Cranbrook to compete against some of the other Kootenay towns in order to raise money for local charities. With Our Man Flint at the controls (actually, it was Our Man Joseph) we took on the challenge to the wild cheering of a bunch of staff, family and friends. With just a few seconds separating all the challengers, we were close, however not quite there, but represented the Creston Valley in a grand manner. The Pet Adoption and Welfare Society, which was the charity we had paired up with, was also there representing our valley and got a lot of good press as well as $250 donation from the organizer, East Kootenay Credit Union, and along with donations from the public at their display table, I think were crowding the $500 mark by the time they left. No matter the outcome, it was great exposure for Creston and fun for everyone attending.
We can see the light at the end of the tunnel in maintaining ice as the grand melt is set to happen following the free skate day, which runs 3:30-5 p.m. March 29, (sponsored by Creston Valley Early Years). I’ve heard the rigours of constant icemaking compared to those who burn wood for heat; it’s kinda fun at first, starting up something new, maybe not as exciting by Christmas or New Year’s, and by March you are getting a bit weary of packing in wood, tracking crumbs all over and cleaning ash so it feels great when you stop. Then by end of summer, you start getting excited about it all over again. Well, in theory, anyway. So, in a few weeks, we park the Zamboni but before that I will dazzle you with all kinds of useless Zamboni trivia you can share around the campfire this summer to impress your friends.
•At approximately three-quarters of a mile per resurfacing, if there are four resurfacings per game, the machines travel an average of three miles during each hockey game.
•On average, a Zamboni machine travels close to 2,000 miles each year in the course of resurfacing.
•In 2001, a Zamboni machine was driven from the East Coast of Canada (St. John’s, N.L.) across to the West Coast (Victoria). At about nine miles per hour, the journey took approximately four months.
•Over 10,000 Zamboni machines have been delivered around the world.
•Prior to the invention of the Zamboni machine, the manual resurfacing of the ice sheet required three or four workers and took over one hour to complete.
•The blade on the Zamboni machine is designed especially for ice resurfacing. It is sharp enough to slice through thick stacks of newsprint, weighs 57 pounds and is a half-inch thick.
•When the machine resurfaces the ice, it is capable of removing close to 2,500 pounds of compacted snow, while it can leave behind about 1,500 pounds of water.
•In April 2005, Road & Track magazine performed a road test on the Zamboni Model 500 ice resurfacing machine. They determined the machine’s top speed to be 9.7 miles per hour and that the machine would go from zero to 0.25 miles in 93.5 seconds.
•The Zamboni machine does not measure its travel in miles. Instead, the hours in use are monitored as a point of reference.
•Each tire on the Zamboni machine is hand-studded, with around 400 tungsten carbide studs used for each machine’s full set of tires.
Don’t forget to check out the spring leisure guide, which you should have by now in the mail, with lots of upcoming programs and schedules that will prove useful over the next few months.
Neil Ostafichuk is the recreation supervisor at the Creston and District Community Complex.