Always a performer: Dan the Zamboni man

Sports

Daniel Booth is not your average Zamboni driver, and he’s not an average person by any stretch of the imagination.

Booth smashes the normalcy of all things average with his electric personality and colorful past.

His job may seem very normal. On paper, he drives the Zamboni at Norwich University hockey games.

With a closer look, Daniel does so much more than just drive or make ice.

During intermission at most hockey rinks, fans file out of their seats and dart for concession stands and restrooms. That is not the case at Kreitzberg Arena. 

As the buzzer sounds, signaling the end of a period, the players leave the ice and head for the locker rooms, but many fans stay in their seats. 

Daniel Booth turns the key to start the Zamboni, and backs onto the ice as any driver would. However, as he does each mundane step of ice-making, he adds a flare that has become a tradition at Cadets hockey games.

“Everybody has 15 minutes of fame, and it happens to me three times a game,” Booth said.

Daniel waves, smiles, laughs, hoots, hollers, and performs for the Norwich fans.

The corps cheers and hollers back at Daniel as he drives in circles, putting down a shiny, new sheet of ice.

Booth has a laundry list of accomplishments and past jobs. To list a few, he’s been a window washer, a math teacher, accepted to Juilliard for dance, the Santa at Macy’s in New York City, a street performer, an acrobat and mime in Roman operas in Italy, and a part-deli owner.

A common theme in Daniel’s past is performing.

“I’ve managed to perform in one way or another no matter what I was doing,” Booth explained.

He came to Norwich because he enjoys new opportunities and the next “open door.”

“It was close by and they were advertising for someone to come and drive, and I thought that would be fun to do,” Booth plainly stated.

Daniel’s selection of his current job was as simple as that. However, the reason that brought him to Vermont in the first place was far from simple.

“My mother was sick with cancer so I thought, well, I’ll come back and be closer to her.” said Booth. “She passed away, actually, a month after I moved up here.”

Daniel moved to Vermont to be close to someone he loved. He lost that person, but found something else he would grow to love at Norwich.  

“This evolved to where it’s home. It really is home. I’m very comfortable here. People are very comfortable having me here.”

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