A video of a New Brunswick boy clearing the ice in a mini-Zamboni went viral on Friday after it was reposted by the National Hockey League (NHL).
Marty Allain, from Saint-Marie-de-Kent, posted a video of his five-year-old son Nicholas to Facebook, not knowing the attention it would get.
“It’s just something I did for fun… I never thought it would go around on the internet,” Allain says. “It’s pretty cool.”
The video showed Nicholas clearing the ice rink in his backyard, in a Zamboni made from a kids’ truck and some extra gear. Soon after sharing the video, the NHL reached out to him asking if they could repost it on their social media.
“I had to look twice, I couldn’t believe that they would ask me to put this on their website,” Allain said.
“It was a little joke for our house here and our friends,” he said, adding he was never expecting to get thousands of views.
Allain says it took him about two hours to make the mini-Zamboni, and he made the rink too.
“It’s my first year building it,” Allain said, adding the idea came as the coronavirus pandemic continued in the province, preparing for rinks and arenas to close.
While Nicholas is only five years old, he’s already found a passion for the ice.
“He likes to skate, and play,” Allain says. “And every night he likes to take it out and pretend he’s a real Zamboni driver.”
While Allain admits he usually has to touch up the rink after Nicholas is done clearing it, he says his son is getting good at it.
Nicholas has been skating since he was three years old, and last year was his first year in organized sport. Even with a team around him, the boy was drawn to the Zamboni.
“My son, last year, would never want to go into the dressing room until the Zamboni finished its turn,” Allain says.
“We were always like ‘let’s go, let’s go,’ and he would stay in the bench and watch the Zamboni go. So for him, the Zamboni is pretty special.”
Allain says Nicholas does love hockey, and is inspired by a local player — Lukas Cormier.
Cormier, who is also from Saint-Marie-de-Kent, signed with the Vegas Golden Knights last month.
“This Christmas I had to buy (Nicholas) all the sweaters and toque and all that,” Allain says. “Hopefully next year when COVID is all done, maybe (Cormier) can come play in our rink.”
With Nicholas’ new-found fame, this dream may come true.
Allain says Nicholas doesn’t yet understand that his video went viral, but the family will be saving everything so he would know once he’s old enough.
“He knows the NHL, he knows a little bit what’s going on but he’s all blurry when we talk about it,” Allain says.
The word got around to other family and friends.
“With COVID, nobody’s around. Here in Moncton we’re in the red phase so nobody can come to our rink or anything… but we got messages from all our family and friends, people I didn’t talk to in a long time,” he said.
Allain says the family is planning on expanding their rink next year, and it’ll be on Nicholas to maintain it.