Zamboni driver Jimmy Menard talks rinkside at NESCACs

Jack McGovern

It takes a lot of behind-the-scenes preparation to get facilities ready for Eph sports teams to shine. The groundskeeping staff work day and night, rain or shine to make sure the College’s fields, courts and rink are in top shape. One such groundskeeper is Jimmy Menard, who drives the Zamboni ice resurfacer before hockey games. Sports Editor Jack McGovern ’21 interviewed Menard in between periods at the women’s hockey NESCAC Championship at Lansing Chapman Rink. The women defeated Amherst and later knocked off Middlebury to win the conference title.

McGovern: How did you get into driving the Zamboni?

Menard: All of the athletics personnel cover all the sports year-round, and we all are qualified to run the Zamboni and maintain the rink maintenance and custodial work along with the facilities and the locker rooms and everything. One neat thing, though, [was] back on campus when they had the Human Library [a program that allowed members of the community to be “checked out” for a conversation]. I went and explained the mechanics … because just everybody loves the Zamboni and the kids were shown really what it’s about.

McGovern: What goes into learning how to drive and operate the Zamboni? Is it pretty simple?

Menard: It is, honestly. Everyone’s probably nervous at first but you just don’t throw them out there. Start on, don’t put any application of water. Just get them used to running the machine to start off, get comfortable and then, gotta learn!

McGovern: Any interesting stories?

Menard: Through the years, probably the worst incident [that occurs is when] maybe accidentally you didn’t lift the conditioner high enough and you cut into the ice when you’re coming off the exit. You’ll take the threshold out, which happens.

McGovern: Do students ever throw anything onto the ice?

Menard: Years ago they did. Honestly, I’m in my 34th year at Williams, and things are controlled a little more with athletic events compared to what [they] used to be. I’ve seen kids throw squids, fish, things in the past. I’m glad they don’t [anymore] because it interrupts play and they [have to] get it off the surface.