Zamboni breakdown can't stop P.E.I. minor hockey team

The Central Attack midget hockey team had some work to do before the puck dropped on a 10-2 win over Northumberland on Friday night.

On the last pass before the game, the Zamboni at the Simmons Arena in Charlottetown broke down.

"The poor fella was on the last strip heading back to come off the ice," said Jamie Whitlock, whose son plays on the Attack.

He said no one thought much of it at first when the operator stopped to inspect his machine. Then people noticed there was water coming out.

Whitlock said the man couldn't get the engine started. The referees skated over and had "a bit of a chuckle," but the machine wasn't going anywhere.

"The referees kind of opened the door and waved the boys on," he said. "About half the team came on, threw their stick down and tried to move it," he said.

Cameron Whitlock, a forward for the Attack, jumped on the ice to assist. "It was heavier than I thought it would be," he said.

Cameron said pushing the Zamboni was like a warmup before the game. "It took a lot out of us," he said.

The win isn't what he will take from the night. He said the big takeaway from the night was pushing the machine off the ice.

When the machine was halfway down the ice, the half of the team pushing called the rest of the team onto the ice to help get the Zamboni moved, Jamie Whitlock said.

"They pushed that Zamboni about 200 feet down to the other end of the ice and off the ice so we could get the game in," said Alf Blanchard, Attack head coach.

"It was really funny, actually," Blanchard said.

He said there was about 60 people at the game and everyone had their phones out. Everyone cheered as the Zamboni made it down the ice.

Parent involvement

Once the Zamboni was off the ice, the players couldn't push it any further to close the doors because they had their skates on.

"A bunch of parents — parents that were following kids on our team, parents from the other team — we all hopped down and pushed the Zamboni fully off the ice," Blanchard said.

This isn't the first story in Atlantic Canada where a team has helped a broken down ice resurfacer. In October the Metro East Inferno female bantam team in Nova Scotia helped push a broken machine off the ice before practice.

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