Nfld. & Labrador

Clarenville's renowned Zamboni driver finally turns over his keys

Many people in Clarenville know Kevin Goodyear as the guy who drives the Zamboni for the town’s recreation department, and for good reason: he’s been doing it for over 41 years.

Kevin Goodyear, the town's longest-serving employee, is retiring after 4 decades

Kevin Goodyear says it will be hard to leave it all behind in retirement. (Town of Clarenville)

Many people in Clarenville know Kevin Goodyear as the guy who drives the Zamboni for the town's recreation department, and for good reason: he's been doing it for over 41 years.

Goodyear handed over his keys this week, and retired as one of the town's longest serving employees.  

"For 41½ years I made ice for hockey players, and figure skaters, and broomball players and all that," said Goodyear, speaking with CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show.

With the news of his retirement, Goodyear said, he's gotten hundreds of emails from people he's met over the years, in his first and only full-time job.

"My first day, I was a greenhorn," Goodyear said. "I never had no experience of doing ice or nothing like that. I just turned 18 when I went to work with the town."

Goodyear had just finished high school when he began working with the town's recreation department, and said that when he took the job he had no idea it would turn into over four decades of steady employment.

"I never been laid off. I never drew unemployment in my life. I've been working with the town ever since."

Four-decade career

During the summers, Goodyear and his crew would maintain the local parks and equipment, although when he began it was no easy task.

"It used to be three of us years ago. Now there's probably 10 or 12 altogether and we never had much equipment, not like we have today," he said.

"We never had no ride-ons; everything we had bought was push-mowers."

Longtime Town of Clarenville employee Kevin Goodyear has maintained the ice for over 40 years. (Town of Clarenville)

For many in Clarenville, especially in the town's hockey community, Goodyear will always be remembered as the Zamboni driver; although even that came with its challenges once upon a time.

"Years ago our first one we used to have to shovel her out, and we had her for seven or eight years. Then we bought a new one and she used to dump; we thought we were in heaven then.

"There was times that between floods where we never had got her shovelled out we used to have to tell the referee we can't do the ice."

According to Goodyear, making ice is an art form, especially when dealing with sports other than hockey.

"Not only hockey, we had figure skating, and we had curling," he said.

"You ask anybody, it's a hard job to play curling on hockey ice. A hockey player can't tell you if the ice is level or not, but curling, they'll tell you, and they'll let you know if the ice is not level."

Do what you love

Goodyear, left, and a coworker prepare the ice for curling. (Town of Clarenville)

Goodyear plans to spend his retirement traveling, camping and spending time with his grandchildren.

But with cards and well-wishes pouring in from the people he's met over the years, he said, stepping away will be hard.

As someone who spent his career doing something he loved, Goodyear had one piece of advice for people, old and young, currently in the job market: make sure you do something you're passionate about.  

"Whatever you're gonna go at, make sure that's what you want to do. Don't start something that you don't want to finish."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Gavin Simms


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