#ThrowbackThursday: The Zamboni, a ‘Strange New Animal’ at Baker Rink

With a new hockey season set to begin tomorrow night — the Princeton men open vs. Dartmouth at the Prudential Center in Newark, while the women play Dartmouth in Hanover, N.H. — we turn our attention to that unsung hero of the rink: the Zamboni.

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(PAW Archives: March 6, 1959)

Today’s fans are well acquainted with the ice-resurfacing machine, which cleans and smooths the playing surface between periods. But in 1959, it was a “strange new animal,” in PAW’s words, capable of scraping the ice in a mere 10 minutes (compared to the 45 minutes required to do it by hand). The editors predicted that the Zamboni would help to spread the game to more high schools in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, and ultimately help Princeton compete with its northern Ivy League rivals.

The prediction was partly on target: More schools do play hockey than in 1959, and the Tiger teams have held their own against the likes of Cornell, Harvard, and Yale. But Princeton’s recruiting reaches far beyond the tri-state area.

Photo from the PAW Archives

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