Growing up in Canada, every kid knows what the Zamboni is. But for the poor, deprived children of warmer climes, we'll fill you in. It's not a lunch meat or a pastry you'd find in Little Italy, but the ice resurfacing machine you see put-putting around the rink before, after and in the middle of hockey games. Created by Frank Zamboni in 1949, the company's pretty much had a monopoly on the market ever since. But the times, as Bob Dylan sang from the penalty box, they are a-changin'.
Toronto, Canada's largest city, is slowly phasing out their Zambonis in favor of Finnish-made IceCats (pictured above). So is the National Hockey League. And the reason is carbon monoxide: while the Zambonis run on propane or natural gas, the IceCats are all-electric. In an indoor arena, that can make all the difference: it's no big surprise to read that a study in the American Journal of Public Health determined that replacing carbon-emitting resurfacing machines with electric ones would reduce the concentration of nitrogen dioxide in indoor arenas by 87%, except to wonder where the other thirteen percent is coming from (flatulent spectators?). At a whopping $160,000 apiece – twice the price of a new Zamboni when many skating rinks already have their own – the IceCats aren't cheap (there are only four in all of Canada), but with carbon emissions on everybody's minds, Zamboni may get beaten