He won’t see a golden goal from Connor McDavid or Sidney Crosby, but he will be driving on a bigger ice surface.
Nichols Arena zamboni driver Art Johnston is prepared to leave for his 2nd Winter Olympic games, this time in Pyeongchang.
This isn’t his first time driving on the big stage, previously driving at the 2010 Vancouver games, the World Figure Skating Championship and the 2014 Memorial Cup in London.
Johnston said he had a great time 8 years ago.
“It was such a great experience for me. I met a bunch of great people that I am still in touch with today in the industry. The atmosphere even outside the venues in downtown Vancouver was incredible, everyone was there to have a good time and enjoy it.”
How does one get selected for this?
“This started in December of 2016, I met the head ice maker for Korea back in Vancouver (in 2010), we have kept in touch ever since. He called me in December and the ball started rolling from there”.
Johnston is gone for 22 days, and hasn’t gone through any trouble trying to get the needed time off.
“The City has been very supportive of this adventure for me. What I have done is saved up all my holiday-time and they have been very gracious in letting me go.”, said the former Bud Gardens driver.
Johnston will be cleaning the ice surface for the Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey tournament. The hockey will be played on two ice surfaces, one the size of Budweiser Gardens, the other that fits 6000 people.
He says there is a few things that he is excited for.
“I am looking forward to the atmosphere. There is something about the Winter Games that bring people together. I am also looking forward to seeing apart of the World that I may never see again.”
There won’t be any NHL players in the Men’s side of the tournament.
The Women’s teams play from February 10th with the medal round on the 21st, the Men play from February 14 with the medal games on February 24th.