The 2010 Olympic Ice Resurfacing Kerfuffle

-Derek Belohrad

At this point, the 2010 Winter Olympics are nearly halfway over.  Earlier today I watched curling over my lunch break and I caught some hockey tonight but that has been it.  If it were not for my Twitter feed, I would have no idea what has been happening.  So yes, I am an Olympic slug (I also just got Bioshock 2- it is a bit distracting).

I did manage to come across the story about the Canadian made Olympia ice resurfacers breaking down and having to be replaced by American made Zambonis.  I don’t have the direct details on why the Olympia machines sucked but I can share my past experiences with ice resurfacers.

I grew up playing hockey for the Boulder Valley Hockey Association.  Back when I played, BVHA was relegated to playing at the University of Colorado’s student recreation center.  Their primary ice resurfacer was a Black and Gold Olympia.  The arena also had an old blue and white Zamboni (I have no idea why CU had a Blue and White Zam).  That Olympia broke down all the time.  It would usually break down while it was in the middle of the rink and the hot water would just leak out and melt a huge dip in the ice.  This of course required an entire weekend of intensive rehab to correct.  If they were fortunate enough to get the broken Olympia off the ice we could always count on the Zamboni to:

A.) Start.  No matter how long it had been sitting it usually started.

B.) Run.  It would run continuously until the Olympia was fixed.

While I don’t know the exact details from Vancouver I can say that if I had an ice rink and I wanted a reliable ice resurfacer it would have to be a Zamboni.


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