Three Electric Ice Machines Fail At Olympics

The surprise US victory over Team Canada in the mens’ ice hockey game brought back many memories of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” at the Lake Placid games. It also happened to be the 30th anniversary of that game. As a hockey fan and devout goalie (yes, I let people shoot pucks at my head) I was ecstatic at the victory.

What I was not so happy about was the apparent failure of three Olympia electric ice machines last Monday. Touted as a green solution to ice resurfacing, one machine after another broke, prompting officials to bring in the good, old fashioned, American-made, and fossil-fuel powered Zamboni ice resurfacers.

As a hockey player, I know that there is only one Zamboni, and in over a decade of playing (and sometimes sleeping) in hockey rinks all over the Northeast, I never saw one break down. Zamboni is a brand that has become synonymous with ice resurfacers (like Xerox is to copy machines, or Kleenex is to tissues). But they don’t yet make an electric version of their legendary machine.

So in order to promote a “Green” Vancouver Olympics, officials decided to use three electric ice resurfacers from Olympia instead. The first breakdown occurred last Sunday during the womens’ 3,000 meter speed skating event. On Monday, two machines broke down during the mens’ 500 meter speed skating event, delaying the event for an hour and a half  prompting officials to call in a Zamboni from nearby Calgary. They couldn’t bring in a Zamboni from the Vancouver, which has the Canucks NHL team, as it did not meet the ice resurfacing requirements for speed skating ( yes, there are different types of ice!)

Prior to this, Olympic officials said that the green ice machines had run for a year and a half without a glitch. Bad timing to be sure, but hopefully it will ensure the next time around, they get it right. We need an electric Zamboni!

Source: Mother Nature Network | Image: Peter DeJong/AP

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.