‘Peanuts’ and Zamboni go together like Michael Jordan and Nike.
Four years before the basketball star first signed the deal which resulted in the Air Jordan, cartoonist Charles Schulz and Frank Zamboni struck up a correspondence after the ‘Peanuts’ author first mentioned a Zamboni ice resurfacing machine in a comic strip.
Hang around with ice rink workers long enough and you’re likely to catch them paraphrasing one of Frank Zamboni’s best-known lines: “The principal product you to sell is the ice itself.”
Although Frank died in 1988, Zamboni’s eponymous company is still family-run and still produces some of the best-known ice grooming machines in the world.
This April, Snoopy’s Home Ice partnered with Sonoma Clean Power to buy a brand new electric Zamboni. The effort came as part of the rink’s ongoing efforts to refurbish the rink, with an eye towards energy efficiency and improving ice quality.
“Everyone who works here is happy that the air we breathe has no emissions from the new Zamboni,” Tamara Stanley, the rink’s general manager said.
The old machine, which the rink used for approximately 20 years, was propane-fueled. While air quality levels were safe for skating, the old machine required AQI tests after each pass on the rink.
“Like any gas-powered vehicle, you had to worry about emissions and sometimes it required maintenance,” shift manager and Zamboni driver Dave Rosefield said.
Rosefield is one of many employees at Snoopy’s who grew up playing hockey or figure skating at the Santa Rosa rink.
“Growing up at the ice arena, it’s pretty natural for hockey players to be excited about driving the Zamboni,” Rosefield said.
Rosefield’s enthusiasm for the machine is echoed by America’s favorite beagle himself in more than a dozen of Schulz’ comics strips. Schulz’ relationship to the Zamboni family and their machines is chronicled inside the Warm Puppy Café.
Just like cars and tractors, modern-day Zambonis come loaded with technology. Snoopy’s new Zam is decked out with the Zamboni Connect System, an electronic monitoring system, and FastICE, the ice-making system attached to the machine’s rear, which Rosefield likened to a high-powered version of a produce mister in a grocery store.
Player’s praised the ice quality at this year’s senior hockey tournament, which is harder and, thus, allows for faster skating than it used to. Skaters can thank the new Zam and the 2019 rink resurfacing when Snoopy’s replaced sand under the ice sheet with a concrete slab for the different feel under their blades.