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Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Too Short For A Column

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To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the first working Zamboni, we offer up 10 fun facts to trade and collect about the machine that literally changed the surface of hockey:

1. Zamboni was a ninth-grade dropout from Pocatello, Idaho.

2. Zamboni got the idea for an automatic ice resurfacer because he was sick and tired of waiting for men to manually resurface the ice with shovels and squeegees at his Paramount, Calif., skating rink, according to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. He vowed to find a better way.

3. In fact, Zamboni originally tried to call his company The Paramount Engineering Company, but that name was taken, so he named it Frank J. Zamboni & Co. The machines became, for short, "Zambonis."

4. What used to take three men 90 minutes to do suddenly took one man 10 minutes to do.

5. For a time, the chassis on Zambonis were old Jeeps.

6. The first one sold for $5,000.

7. The second and third were sold to figure skater Sonia Henie for her Hollywood on Ice show.

8. The Zamboni company is coming up on its 10,000th machine soon.

9. Many Zambonis are made in Brantford, Ontario, boyhood home of ... wait for it ... Wayne Gretzky.

10. "The Paramount" wouldn't have been near as cool a name.

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