Michigan native Adam Stirn has done thousands of laps on a Zamboni, but nothing compares to the first one he took in Pyeongchang.
“That was something pretty crazy, the first time I drove over the center logo, I did secretly take video of it,” Stirn said.
He’s one of eight Zamboni drivers imported from the United States. The Olympic Committee was looking for drivers who knew how to make a quality sheet of ice, which is Stirn’s specialty.
“The secret is knowing the ice,” he said. “If you’re around an ice arena as long as I’ve been, you can just tell by the sound,” he said.
Just by listening, he knows how much ice to shave and water to spread.
“When the puck is bouncing, it means the ice is too warm, so the puck’s not as hard and won’t stay flat,” he said. “We want the players to be safe and have a hard surface they can play on.”
The pressure to do the job correctly is enormous. But for Stirn, who makes ice surfaces for the Minnesota and University of Minnesota, pressure is nothing new.
His connection to the wild helped him get to the Olympics, as his boss gave him a recommendation for the job.