Rankin Inlet is the proud owner of a brand-new Zamboni machine to keep the ice at Nunavut’s busiest arena in tip-top shape during the 2017-18 hockey season.
Rankin rec co-ordinator David Clark said this is the community’s first new Zamboni in about 15 years.
He said the arena’s older Zamboni came up with a few problems toward the end of the previous hockey season that prompted the decision to purchase the new machine.
“We had Tormont do an assessment on the old Zamboni and it would have cost between $30,000 to $40,000 in parts and labour to have it fixed back to where we could be confident it would continue to do the job,” said Clark.
“I brought it forward to our SAO, Justin Merritt, and then went ahead with the decision to purchase a new Zamboni and have minor upgrades performed on the older machine so, at least, it could take care of our outdoor rinks on Williamson Lake.
“It may also be possible for us to use both machines during tournaments, so we can have the ice done in a shorter amount of time between games. The older machine is currently having some minor repairs done to it, but it should be up and running by the time our first tournament rolls around.”
Clark said the new machine cost a little over $100,000 with the addition of a few state-of-the-art bells and whistles.
He said the hamlet put a bit more money into the new Zamboni to have it include a wash water, which gives the ice surface a much better finish.
“It makes the machine a bit more pricey, but it does a much, much better job on the ice and, with the number of games we host, especially during our bigger tournaments, that’s an important and valuable addition,” he said.
“The new Zamboni is more compact than the older machines and it has smaller propane tanks, which are safer for the guys to work with.
“The average lifespan of this machine is 15 to 20 years, but, obviously, with our climate and how cold our rink often is on the inside, that takes its toll on a Zamboni over the years. Using it on the lake takes its toll, as well, so using the older machine for that purpose will help lengthen the life of our new Zamboni, at least for as long as it can continue to do the job.”
Clark said once hockey season starts in Rankin, there are no days off for the Zamboni.
He said the machine goes practically non-stop seven days a week throughout the season.
“We’ve all been to tournaments where the host community had serious issues with their ice surface and that’s no fun to contend with,” he said.
“You’re just not going to get the quality of games that you should have in our region if you’re dealing with ice issues, so it’s really important to have a quality Zamboni like the one we have now.
“And not only does it improve the quality of hockey being played, but it also improves safety with a superior sheet of ice to play and skate on – and safety is always the prime issue whether it’s hockey games or public skating.”