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The Big Chill In Hartford

Therell Wayne "Scoop" Knight has been a Zamboni driver at the XL Center in Hartford since it was called the Civic Center, way back in 1980, when Whalers, not Wolves, plied the slippery slab. Now 57, he leads a seven-person crew and is the dean of ice making and resurfacing in Connecticut and beyond. When the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn needed to chill for its first National Hockey League game, center officials called Knight, as do numerous rinks around the state. And when the ice man cometh, he does the job right. The graduate of Tuskegee Institute, now Tuskegee University, in Alabama can skate, too, and claims to have broken several of the center's glass boards with his slap shot (which is OK because he's also good at replacing them). His other vehicle is a Jeep Cherokee SRZ8.

How fast does a Zamboni go, and have you ever had an accident?

Knight: I can get it up to about 15 miles per hour. It has a governor, so that's about it. You know, of all the years, no, believe it or not, no, I've never had an accident. I had a very strict teacher back in the day, a man named Charlie Tucker.

What's the most challenging aspect of your job?

Knight: You don't want to miss a spot, and you have to make sure you complete the ice in the five minutes or so they give you to do it. You have to be careful with the water at this level of play, getting just the right amount down. If it's not right, you'll hear about it. I've been around long enough to know what they need, so I don't get many complaints.

Do fans know you by now, do they recognize you?

Knight: Yes, I do have fans, especially in Section 106 [nearest to the Zamboni door]. They call my name when I drive by.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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