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90-year-old man reconnects with old Zamboni at Knoxville Ice Rink | News

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90-year-old man reconnects with old Zamboni at Knoxville Ice Rink

This is a different kind of love story on this Valentine's Day. 

It's about an ice rink, a friendship, and re-kindling an old piece of equipment.

February 14th, 2013, was all about a Zamboni.

Bill Howard bought the 1957 Zamboni in the late 1960's.

"My wife was glad when I found a Zamboni I could afford," said Howard.

It resurfaced the ice at Holiday Ice Rink in Concord, North Carolina, for 35 years.

Then, in 1997, Bill Howard closed the business and the Zamboni sat, unused and alone.

"I didn't know what to do with it," explained Howard, "Then I called Larry and said, 'Larry, I don't know what to do with this.'"

Larry LaBorde is part owner of the Ice Chalet in Bearden.
A long time friend of the Howards, he decided he'd take the old piece of metal. "I actually then had a hidden agenda. I was going to restore it some day. That was my dream and it's all come true now," LaBorde said.

He spent seven years finding parts all over the country to restore the machine to it's glory days.

And on Valentine's Day, Bill Howard got to ride his old machine. It ran like old times, but it now has a new paint job and a new purpose."

Howard said, "It felt good and I sort of got carried away there for a minute!"

The cost to fix it, well, that was nothing for Larry, "Money is now... I love Mr. Howard and it was worth it."

Bill Howard is 90 years-old and is fighting cancer. He and his wife of 62 years came over from North Carolina just to ride the Zamboni.

Bill Howard also donated several compressors from his old ice rink which now are at the Ice Chalet chilling the ice.

Expect to see that finished Zamboni in the works at the Ice Chalet and around town. They plan to put it in some Knoxville parades.


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