Minnesota Zamboni driver headed to Winter Olympics

- It might not be the most glamorous job, but it's one a lot of us wish we had: the illustrious career of a Zamboni driver.

A Minnesota man is taking his talents to South Korea to do his job on the Olympic stage.

Adam Stirn never set out to make Zamboni driving a career.

“It was a college job back in Michigan,” said Stirn. “I was just looking for some extra money and decided to get a job at the ice arena.”

For the past four years, his day job has been at the University of Minnesota and at night he works at Minnesota Wild games across the river. But he never imagined he would be headed to the Olympic Games in PyeongChang. 

“I received a phone call a few months ago out of the blue,” said Stirn. “It blew me away.”

The Zamboni machine carries close to 200 gallons of water, most of which is used for each resurface. It spreads a very thin layer of water at 160 degrees, which helps smooth the surface, but also freezes better. There is a science and precision to your speed, your turns, what you add and what you remove.

“It’s all about keeping the players safe, giving them a quality sheet of ice,” said Stirn. “Hard, fast, that’s what they’re looking for and that’s hopefully what we’ll be able to give them.”

“[Mariucci Arena] is an Olympic sheet size ice, so should be pretty familiar with my pattern and whatnot,” he said. 

Stirn is one of three Twin Cities ice technicians who will work the Winter Olympics hockey rinks. There will be eight Americans total as well as some from Canada. 

Stirn leaves for South Korea on Super Bowl Sunday and he says he doesn’t mind at all.

“I’ll give up a Super Bowl in the hometown to go to South Korea for some Olympics,” he said.

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