Zamboni Driver Needs Minnesota Alcohol Class

by: Mike Miller


As a kid growing up in the Northeast I always admired the Zamboni drivers. For those of you who don’t know what a Zamboni is, it’s a motorized vehicle used to smooth the ice at ice rinks. I always wanted to drive a Zamboni. I even liked just saying the word, “Zamboni.”

A driver from Minnesota was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in the town of Apple Valley. This was reported in yahoo sports. Of course, that hardly qualifies as a bizarre event; there are plenty of people arrested on suspicion of DUI across the country every day. Still, this particular Minnesota DUI was unusual. The arrest didn't come on a city road; it came just off the ice at a youth hockey rink.

Apple Valley resident Joel Bruss was taken into custody at the Hayes Hockey Arena on suspicion of operating the rink's Zamboni machine while intoxicated.

The 34-year-old failed field sobriety tests before being taken to a local police station for a blood-alcohol test. Not surprisingly, Bruss had also been arrested on DUI charges in 2002 and twice in 1999.

Innocent Before Proven Guilty?

While charges may not be filed against the driver until the blood-alcohol test results are returned, the circumstantial evidence against the man certainly seems to be stacking up against him. The Pee Wee coach who called 911 to report the man offered a troubling recollection of the driver's 25 minutes attempting to re-surface the Hayes ice (re-surfacing an ice rink traditionally takes approximately 10 minutes) before his team skated back out after a break.

One of the Pee Wee coaches noted that before the game the Zamboni was making stripes across the ice. After the game he was weaving all over and slurring his words. The coach also noted that the driver smelled like Red Bull and had blurry red eyes before he had even taken to the ice before the game, indicating that he may have been drinking before arriving at Hayes for the evening Zamboni shift.

If the driver in question harbored any hopes of escaping punishment because he wasn't driving a car, he may be in for a harsh surprise. Driversin the state of Minnesota have been arrested for piloting everything from a ride-on lawnmower in a yard to a farm tractor, a class of vehicles which would certainly include a Zamboni.

Dui behavior is abhorrent. It is made much worse that it occurred in a youth hockey center. With his history of DUI I would hope that Bruss gets some jail time. He also needs to take an alcohol class and get personal counseling.