Gordie Howe. Bobby Orr. Wayne Gretzky. Frank Zamboni.
Hockey legends all, but one of these men is not like the others.
By all indications, Frank Zamboni never played hockey at any level, but his contribution the game has become so integral that even the most hockey-illiterate person knows his name thanks to his invention:
The Zamboni resurfaces ice rinks to allow for smoother skating, crisper puck-handling, and faster play overall. Before the Zamboni was invented in 1949, ice had to be resurfaced manually.
Technically, "Zamboni" only refers to an ice resurfacing machine produced by Frank J. Zamboni & Co., but the term has become so intertwined these vehicles, that everyone uses "Zamboni" as a catch-all for all ice resurfacers. Besides, it's way more fun to say than "ice resurfacer."
Wednesday is the late Zamboni's 112th birthday, and to honor him Google's doodle is an interactive Zamboni animation where the user can resurface an ice rink.
Thankfully, NHL teams will be dusting off their Zambonis after the end of the NHL lockout, and the beginning of the (shortened) season on Saturday.
To celebrate this development — and of course Mr. Zamboni's birthday — I've procured tickets to watch the Bruins play the Rangers next week at Madison Square Garden — the scene of one of the craziest moments in the history of the league, which happened to involve the Bruins going into the stands to beat up New York fans in 1979. Although this is almost completely irrelevant, I will use any excuse to embed it. The good stuff starts at the 1:35 mark.