SHELBURNE, N.S. – The Shelburne County Arena Association has initiated a fundraising campaign to replace the Zamboni that has served the Shelburne-based rink for 34 years.
Emily Tipton, president of the Shelburne County Arena Association, said the association is “hopeful” they will get the rest of the season out of the Zamboni that they have.
“We had a very positive visit from our repairman (recently). It was only firing on three cylinders and he managed to get the fourth one firing so we’re quite hopeful,” she said. “There’s only about four weeks left of the season so we’re hopeful we can finish it out before it dies for good.
“The repairman is not particularly optimistic about future repairs. It’s so old now it’s hard to get parts for,” she added, noting the association has spent more than $10,000 in repairs to the Zamboni this year.
The association estimates they will have to raise $100,000 to replace the Zamboni.
The Shelburne County Arena is not a municipally-run arena, said Tipton. It is owned and operated by the community-run non-profit association.
“Most other arenas are owned and operated by municipalities. Ours is not. There’s no get-out-of-jail free card for us. We have to find the funds ourselves as a community group,” Tipton said.
A week into the fundraising campaign, community support was coming in, with around $3,000 in donations received, said Tipton. The association has some unique perks for those making a donation to the cause. Donate $500 and you can sign the new Zamboni with a Sharpie. Donate $100 and get your very own miniature Zamboni (limited quantities of Leafs, Senators, Jets, Canucks and Flames Zambonis). Donate $10 and be entered into a draw for a Zamboni driving lesson and to be the first person to drive the new Zamboni onto the ice.
Tipton said the association had hoped they would get a few more years out of the present Zamboni, but the mechanical breakdowns this season have put the need for a replacement on the front burner.
“We are going to look at all the options,” said Tipton. “New Zambonis, used Zambonis, grants for Zambonis, we will be talking to the municipal units, the Town of Shelburne and the Municipality of Shelburne about supporting it as well. We have a much broader plan over the six months to raise funds, but we really just wanted to start something in the community as quickly as possible while people were still using the arena.”
Tipton’s nine-year-old Will is the official spokesperson for the Zamboni campaign; making several social media videos and a sign for the arena to promote the cause.
“He plays a lot of hockey,” said Tipton. “The Zamboni is close to his heart.”
“Our Zamboni is 34 years old. That’s 238 in dog years,” Will says in one of his social media posts. “Help us let our Zamboni retire!”
Anyone wanting to support the Zamboni fundraising campaign can contact arena manager Edgar Allison at the arena, or call 902-875-2977, or send the Shelburne County Arena Association a message on Facebook.
A challenge has been issued by Razzle Fisheries Limited to all other fishermen and local businesses to match their donation of $500 to help get a new Zamboni for the Shelburne County Arena.