Frank J. Zamboni created the product that bears his name, an ice resurfacing machine that is commonly seen on Olympic and National Hockey League rinks. Zamboni machines first came into use in 1949 and have been modified several times since. Today’s model is fully electric, running on battery power and operated by a driver who takes to the ice when playing surfaces need to be smoothed. The salary of a Zamboni driver varies based on a number of factors including location and facility.
According to Indeed.com, an Internet job search website, the annual salary of a Zamboni driver is $32,000. Indeed compares the salary of Zamboni drivers with the average salary of a facilities maintenance mechanic and a facility maintenance service worker. These positions pay $40,000 and $28,000, respectively, as of June 2011.
A Zamboni driver is not listed among occupations tracked by the U.S. Department of Labor, but maintenance and repair workers are. The BLS states that the median hourly wage of such workers is $16.21 as of May 2008. When annualized, the salary of a such workers is $33,716, an amount that is in line with Indeed’s salary information. Zamboni driver opportunities are limited to professional rinks and other facilities. Off season and between events, the Zamboni driver may have other responsibilities.
Education and Training
The BLS indicates that maintenance and repairs workers typically acquire their skills on the job. Most have a high school education and represent people who can also work on electrical, plumbing, heating and air-conditioning units. Workers must possess technical and mechanical aptitude, and certification through the International Management Institute can lead to advancement opportunities offering greater pay.
Besides being able to carefully resurface the ice, the Zamboni driver needs to get the job done in less than 15 minutes, which represents the interval between periods in the National Hockey League. As described by Kim Yoshino for the Los Angeles Times, the Zamboni driver has to maintain intense concentration to leave behind a “slick, smooth surface.” That’s not an easy task given that thousand of fans are watching, some of whom may be enamored as much by the beastly looking ice resurfacing machine as they are of the game itself.