Most Canadian job ever? Zamboni driver wanted for Hill rink

The company managing a hockey rink on Parliament Hill is looking for an experienced hand to make sure things go smoothly when it opens Dec. 7.

Outdoor rink to open on Dec. 7

The $5.6-million ice rink on Parliament Hill is scheduled to stay open until the end of February. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC)

It might be the ultimate Canadian job.

Not only will the successful candidate in a Canada-wide hunt get to drive a Zamboni, but he or she will make their star turn on an outdoor rink in the shadow of the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill.

The rink — lately the focus of scorn for its hefty price tag and rigorous list of rules — will nevertheless need to start each day with a clean sheet once it opens Dec. 7. It will be up to the Zamboni operator to make sure things go smoothly.

The job was posted Monday by the Ottawa Senators.

In addition to keeping the ice smooth for skaters, the successful candidate will also be required to perform odd jobs, including repairs and cleaning changing rooms, all while remaining "energetic and enthusiastic, with a positive attitude," according to the ad. 
Veteran Zamboni driver Terry Bloom said drivers should have fun out there while they work. 'You want to put on a little show for the kids,' Bloom said. (Sandra Abma/CBC)

Of course, they must also be able to embrace the cold.

"Unless they have a cab on the machine, it's going to be a little on the cool side," said veteran Zamboni driver Terry Bloom.

Finish where you start

When people ask Bloom what he does for a living, he answers with this riddle: "I drive around in an oval. It's cold all the time. I'm a Canadian icon, and I always finish where I start."
Terry Bloom in action at Earl Armstrong Arena. 'I always finish where I start," Bloom said. (CBC News)

Bloom, who's been operating Zambonis for 35 years, takes a simple approach to the job.

"You get out, do your pattern and hopefully you don't run over anybody," he said, laughing. 

Bloom currently takes care of ice and rink maintenance at Earl Armstrong Arena in Gloucester. Although the job on Parliament Hill may have a higher profile, he said it's no different than every time he gets on the ice.

"It's the same. You have to give them good ice because if somebody falls and hurts themselves you're in doo-doo," Bloom said.

"It doesn't matter whether it's public skating, or little tykes or Junior A, you have to give them good ice, because if you don't someone could get hurt."

Bell Canada Cup to take place on ice

As for the job requiring drivers to be "enthusiastic, with a positive attitude", Bloom says that should go with the territory.

"I've been to other rinks and it looked like a grumpy old guy driving the Zamboni, kids wave, they don't wave back," he said disapprovingly.

"You want to put on a little show for the kids, kids wave, wave back. Makes the job funner for you too."

Children will be front and centre for at least one event on the rink: 32 Peewee house league teams (16 boys' and 16 girls' teams) will be playing in a special Canada 150 Division of the Bell Capital Cup from Dec. 27 to Dec. 31. 

Bloom, who plans to retire in January, said he has no plans to apply for the gig on Parliament Hill.

"The hours are killing me. I don't want to get up at 6 a.m anymore," he said. "Otherwise, I'd do it forever."