Well, the Zamboni is in fact an Italian invention. In 1949, Frank Zamboni invented the world’s first self-propelled ice resurfacing machine—and named it after himself. His invention eventually earned Frank a spot in the National Inventors Hall of Frame in 2007 and forever revolutionized the maintenance of ice rinks. Several other companies, including Olympia, make ice resurfacers, but the name Zamboni is in such common usage that using the brand name—as with Frisbee and Kleenex— is clearer than using the generic name. Today’s Zambonis are mostly electric not gas, meaning that a power outage at a rink equals maybe one resurfacing tops.
I Wanna Drive the Zamboni!
To fulfill many a sports fans’ dreams, many rinks offer Zamboni (err, ice resurfacer) driving lessons. With sponsorships that trick out the Zamboni like a trash truck, ambulance and more, you can even fantasize you’re more than an ice resurfacer. And if you’ve never heard the song dedicated to it, you’re missing out!
Editor’s Note: Thank you to Rose Conry, an intern with the Grow the Game Initiative, for this story. Rose studies journalism at Northwestern University, loves all sports and sails competitively with the university’s club team.
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