The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Meet Loren Hutchings, Colgate’s Famed Zamboni Driver

Colgate Athletics / Mary Grygier

Since the first Colgate University hockey game of the season, talk around campus not only revolves around the many wins and high rankings of both the men’s and women’s teams, but also the Zamboni performances in between each period. With his eye-catching outfits and interactive personality, Zamboni driver Loren Hutchings has been drawing fans to Colgate hockey games for 24 years. 

After working for one year at Frank Dining Hall, Hutchings began his job as the beloved Colgate Zamboni driver and groundskeeper for the facilities department. Hutchings has not only made a great impact on the Colgate ice hockey and figure skating teams, but on the Hamilton community as a whole. Whether he is on or off the ice, Hutchings makes an effort to form connections with players and fans. 

“It puts smiles on people’s faces when I dress up or just wave,” Hutchings said. “It feels rewarding when you do something for the team. There is a sense of appreciation both ways.”

Each game, Hutchings wears a different outfit as he cleans the ice, waving to fans as he goes. His outfits have elevated from black suits to one of his most recent: a pink-and-white sequined blazer. 

On Oct. 1, 2016 — the very first game held at the Class of 1965 Arena — Hutchings wore a tuxedo as he made his way around the ice. This year, at the men’s game vs. Cornell University, he wore a similar outfit. Athletic administrators loved Hutchings’ outfit and told him to continue the creativity, with the hope of forming connections and inspiring fans to support the teams. 

“At the Cornell game, I wore a white shirt, black suspenders, a black tie and a white hat,” Hutchings said. “The administrator liked it so much that he said, ‘Loren, you should get a few different jackets and keep it going. Everybody will love it. Maybe we will get people to come just to see what you are wearing.’”

This proved true: More students attend games now, and fans always look forward to seeing what Hutchings will wear that game. 

Hutchings commented on the increase in turnout and crowd participation since he began dressing up.

“During the intermission, the crowd interacts a lot more than they used to. We used to get a few people to interact, but now they get really into it. It flows into the game,” Hutchings said. 

Hutchings’ spiritedness between periods is contagious, inspiring fans to bring more energy to the game. This has had a clear impact on the players and motivates them to play their best. Players noted that they have noticed this change in energy and appreciate it, with men’s team sophomore forward Simon Labelle even comparing Hutching’s energy to that of a mascot.

I love the energy that [Hutchings] brings to the games.” Labelle said. “It keeps the fans engaged with the game even between periods. His shiny silver suit jacket is my personal favorite outfit that he wears. Considering we don’t have a mascot present at the games, I would consider him to play that role as well as being the Zamboni driver. Overall, we are extremely lucky to have him a part of the program.

Hutchings remembers a time he dressed up for a women’s home game.

“I was at Walmart one day to get groceries. I went to check out, and the guy next to me was wearing a black top hat. The women’s team had games that weekend, and I knew I couldn’t leave without finding one of those. I got it and wore it during the game. Later, I found out that one of the women’s hockey players loved that I did something special for them, and they really appreciated it. It was a really positive experience,” Hutchings said.

Senior forward Kas Betinol on the women’s team spoke highly of Hutchings’ relationship with the team.

“[Hutchings] brings such a great energy and always talks to our team before games. His outfits are fun and exciting and create such a good environment for us,” Betinol said. “We’re so thankful for his continued support and can’t wait to see him throughout the playoffs.”

Hutchings has been part of the Hamilton community for a long time and continues to form connections by waving, smiling at and talking to fans who come to support Colgate. Maintaining these connections has been especially important to him after his two sons graduated from Hamilton High School in 2003 and 2005. 

Hutchings spoke about his favorite memory of being on Colgate’s staff. 

“Once in a while, someone will say how much my basic friendship and just being the person I am meant to them. It kept them grounded and was a stress relief just having a friend,” Hutchings said.

From prepping the ice, clearing snowy roads and maintaining the outdoor facilities to being a friendly face to everyone in Hamilton, Hutchings has made his mark at Colgate. Athletes and fans alike say they’re grateful for his hard work, dedication and support, and for all that Hutchings and his team bring to Colgate hockey. 

Come support Hutchings and the women’s and men’s hockey teams on Friday, March 1 at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., respectively, at the Class of 1965 Arena.

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