Bill Thompson is a professional ice resurfacing machine driver. He has been employed as the driver of the machine, or Zamboni, for the Nashville Predators since the team entered the NHL in 1998. Before that he operated the Zamboni for the city's minor league hockey franchise. Yet now, with the 2012-2013 NHL season all but officially lost, Thompson is finding it hard to make ends meet.
"I am great at resurfacing ice, but this is a very specialized field," he said. "There are only so many employers that offer work for Zamboni drivers, especially here in Nashville."
Thompson's inability to get supplemental Zamboni jobs is not without a lack of trying. He has plastered telephone polls and bulletin boards throughout his community with fliers advertising his Zamboni driving surfaces. He sits outside Home Depot every morning with a sign that says: "NEED ZAMBONI WORK?" He has posted his resume all over online job sites. He has even started going door-to-door asking people if they need any ice resurfacing odd jobs done around the house.
"It's the same answer everywhere: No," said Thompson. "I'm losing hope. I'm losing sleep. When I do get to bed at night, I dream about running over Gary Bettman with my machine, killing him and forever encapsulating him in ice."
If the lockout doesn't end soon, Thompson says he will have to uproot his family and look north for work.
"I've heard rumors about Canada," he says. "Apparently it's a country covered in ice and there are plentiful Zamboni jobs for anyone who wants them. It sounds almost too good to be true. But if it is, I just might never come back."