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Al Sobotka drives a zamboni before a game between the Detroit Red Wings and Carolina Hurricanes.
Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images

For all the attention NHL players and coaches get, some members of the ice hockey community don’t receive their fair share of praise.

We’re not talking about referees or general managers, either. We’re talking about Zamboni drivers.

Who doesn’t love the satisfaction of watching the ice maintenance team cruise a mini tank onto the ice rink and get to work? But while the guys who skate in the ice arena make a pretty penny, Zamboni drivers simply aren’t being compensated the same way.

So, how much money does a Zamboni driver actually make?

Average Salary for Zamboni Driver Jobs

Chris Cotsilis drives a Zamboni during the 2022 NHL All-Star Game.
Ethan Miller via Getty Images

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Landing a job in ice resurfacing and driving a Zamboni doesn’t sound too difficult.

Typically, no formal education is required, meaning it could be a solid part-time, entry-level job for a high school or college student, and even a full-time gig for others.

According to reported salary estimates on job posting sites, the average Zamboni driver salary is around $13 per hour, or $26,500 (USD) annually. Top earners, such as NHL Zamboni drivers, earn a salary range from $29,000-$31,000, per ZipRecruiter.

Zamboni drivers with multiple years of experience tend to make more than those less familiar with ice surface maintenance. All one needs to do to land the job title of an ice resurfacer is to become a licensed Zamboni operator, as well as have a valid driver’s license.

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This, of course, suggests the job is only suitable for anyone older than 16 years of age.

According to Indeed, however, only 17 percent of Zamboni Drivers feel their base salary is enough to offset their cost of living.

Many Zamboni driver’s job description isn’t limited to working on the ice and as an edger, however. Some are required to do related jobs such as cleaning the stands and locker rooms, as well as help set up the protective glass around the rink.

So while it may seem like your local ice rink is just letting anybody drive the Zamboni in between periods, there’s a lot more that goes into resurfacing the ice. But for Hockey fans who want to take the next step in their fandom, set a job alert for “Zamboni  Driver,” and take joyriding to a new level. 

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Karl Rasmussen is a sports writer living in Brooklyn, NY. He studied journalism at the University of Oregon and is an avid fan of the Oregon Ducks, Portland Trail Blazers, New York Yankees and New York Jets.
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