This lawn mower-powered mini-Zamboni is about as Canadian as it gets
'She's a Cadillac,' volunteer says of transformed machine at Estey's Bridge rink
The ice is nice at the community rink in Estey's Bridge, thanks to the ingenuity of a few volunteers and a former 1990s-era Cub Cadet ride-on lawn mower.
Or as locals know it: the mini-Zamboni.
"It's just a redneck idea we had sitting in the garage to make a Zamboni," said James Dorcas, one of the creators of the vehicle.
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"So we took our lawn mower and just went at it, started adding pieces and parts, and we flood the ice with it, I guess."
Dorcas and other volunteers winterized the mower by giving it an easily removable battery, custom headlights, sprayers and a wooden frame to sit in.
"We yanked the deck and stuff off it, put some water tanks on it that we run hot water through," said Dorcas. "And we put a blade on the front, so that it scrapes ice, and made it look like a Zamboni the best we could."
The homemade Zamboni also pulls double duty as a snowplow, built with an adjustable scoop on the front that can clear the ice faster than skaters with shovels can.
"I usually operate it," said Evan Brewer, a volunteer rink attendant, who also had a hand in building the vehicle.
Before the mini-Zamboni, Brewer spent more time cleaning the rink than playing on it.
"It took a lot of shovelling, a lot of scraping — we did it all by hand," Brewer said. "We'd work away at it for four or five hours and play hockey on it for about an hour and then go home and do it all again the next day.
"This saves a lot of time."
And the mini-Zamboni handles like a dream, he said.
"She's a Cadillac."
But not that fast.
"Oh, about two miles an hour down a good hill," Brewer said.