An EV Takes the Ice: The Positive Impacts of Jack Byrne’s e-Zamboni Adoption

e-Zamboni Adoption Located in Torbay, NL the Jack Byrne Regional Sport & Entertainment Centre is a multipurpose complex owned by its four surrounding communities, the Town of Torbay, Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove, Flatrock, and Pouch Cove. In July 2023, they successfully transitioned from a conventional propane-powered ice resurfacer to a fully electric Zamboni (e-Zamboni), signaling the start of a new phase in environmental efficiency and awareness for the Sport & Entertainment Centre.

Since the facility opened in 2008, the arena has been home to a variety of ice hockey and skating clubs. The recreation center serves as a central community hub, offering weekly skate sessions, special events, and concerts. At the heart of its operations are Operations Supervisor, David Morgan, Lead Facility Attendant, Wayne Bennett, and Facilities Manager, Cathy Green. 

Optimal conditions are necessary for various on-ice activities at the rink, which is busy ten months out of each year. The Jack Byrne Regional Sport & Entertainment Centre enjoys the dependability of its Model 650 e-Zamboni, thanks to its low maintenance requirements, easy charging procedure, and constant performance.

“Like Night and Day”

Jack Byrne’s e-Zamboni has had positive impacts on daily operations. According to Wayne, “The charging process of the e-Zamboni, compared to the conventional fueling process, is like night and day. Instead of lugging hefty propane tanks from outside in all weather conditions to replace the existing tank, it’s as easy as plugging the e-Zamboni in.”

Rink staff appreciate that the e-Zamboni only requires about an hour of charging time. David points out other benefits he’s noticed over traditional propane-powered Zambonis.

“The electric machine constantly displays the percentage of charge on the dash and the ability and convenience to plug in the e-Zamboni overnight and during downtime ensures a continuous and reliable power source. This addresses a common concern associated with propane-fueled ice resurfacers — running low on fuel during critical operational periods and running out of fuel on the ice.”

e-Zamboni Adoption Having a clear indication of remaining charge allows operators to schedule runs and charging time to ensure they always have a charge when needed.

The cost of a new e-Zamboni is approximately $176,800, about $46,700 more than a comparable propane-powered model. Covering the incremental cost of an electric ice resurfacer was made possible by a boost from the Canadian Climate Challenge fund. This joint federal and provincial funding allocated a significant sum, over $102,000, towards Jack Byrne’s eco-friendly purchase. Through such funding and anticipated long-term savings, the rink expects to offset the higher up-front costs. A large part of that savings will be on fuel. The arena staff previously allocated over $300 a week for propane, but anticipate significantly lower costs charging costs for the e-Zamboni. The electric vehicle will also require less maintenance.

Safer, More Cost-Efficient

Another major benefit is that the new electric ice resurfacer won’t release fumes like a propane model, creating cleaner air inside the arena for patrons and staff. Facilities Manager, Cathy Green specified, “This switch to an electric-powered machine is also much safer due to eliminating potential safety hazards associated with propane, such as flammability, combustibility, and leak hazards.”

Since its arrival, the e-Zamboni has received exceedingly positive feedback from rink staff. David and Wayne stated that the new e-Zamboni is user-friendly and staff training and adoption was simple. Compared to its fuel-powered counterpart, the e-Zamboni is significantly lighter and boasts smooth user handling. Additionally, feedback from arena patrons highlights the e-Zamboni’s quiet operation and praises the sustainable switch. 

The switch to a fully electric ice resurfacer has been a huge benefit for the Jack Byrne Regional Sport & Entertainment Centre, prioritizing sustainability without sacrificing high-performance expectations. The success of this transition reinforces the Jack Byrne facility’s commitment to setting new industry standards and offers valuable insights for others considering similar environmentally conscious initiatives.