Zamboni dreams: 2 women from Behchokǫ̀ are running the rink

·2 min read
Recreation leader Rianna Camsell, left, learning how to drive a Zamboni with community government recreation manager Colinda Blondin, right, in Behchokǫ̀, N.W.T. (Photo courtesy of Colinda Blondin - image credit)
Recreation leader Rianna Camsell, left, learning how to drive a Zamboni with community government recreation manager Colinda Blondin, right, in Behchokǫ̀, N.W.T. (Photo courtesy of Colinda Blondin - image credit)

File this under "jobs you wish you had."

Who among us has not gazed in wonder at a Zamboni as it glides across the rink, leaving behind a perfect sheen of pristine ice, and not wished it were you behind the wheel?

Two women from Behchokǫ̀, N.W.T., are living our collective dreams at the helm of the big machine — Behchokǫ̀'s community recreation manager, Colina Blondin and recreation leader Rianna Camsell.

Blondin spent her entire life in recreation, and after high school she took a recreational leader program in Inuvik, N.W.T.

At the time, the rink in Behchokǫ̀ closed down. She was hired to maintain facilities in Yellowknife, where she learned to drive a Zamboni.

"They showed me the ropes — painting ice, maintaining a facility [and] being part of special events," she said.

Then, she took her skills back to Behchokǫ̀ and now travels to Inuvik, Tuktoyaktuk and Hay River to show aspiring drivers her "tips and tricks."

Sharing that knowledge is part of the fun.

"In the Northwest Territories there are only so many trainers and so it's great to share that knowledge," she said.

Blondin said that Rianna Camsell, much like her, is eager to learn on the job.

The two shared a photo of themselves driving their rigs in a community Facebook group and people were stoked.

Driving a Zamboni is "scary" at the beginning, said Blondin and the learning curve can be steep. You have to be conscious of all the components, the water temperature and the angle of the blade.

Some spacial awareness is required too, and it's a common beginner's challenge to avoid hitting the boards.

"A willingness to learn helps," said Blondin, who would encourage others to learn a new skill.

Her advice to prospective Zamboni operators and recreation leaders?

"Just keep on givin 'er."