For as long as she can remember, Liz Thunstrom has wanted to ride a Zamboni.
“Ever since I was a little kid, I have wanted to do it,” Thunstrom said.
“I always thought it would be fun.”
On Friday night at Langley Events Centre, the wish became reality as a belated 80th birthday present for Thunstrom.
“I remember her telling me, like 10 years ago, that she always wanted to ride a Zamboni,” explained Kaitlyn Williams, who organized the outing.
“It is definitely random, but she is one for doing unique things,” Williams said.
“She does a lot of stuff, she’s pretty awesome.”
After first attempting to organize this wish locally in Coquitlam, Williams was told to reach out to Langley Events Centre and the Vancouver Giants, who have a Fanboni, which precedes the Zamboni cleaning the ice at intermission, and is specifically designed for fans to take a spin.
Everything was quickly put together and the plan was in motion for Thunstrom’s 80th birthday, which she celebrated on Aug. 28.
All grandma knew was that she was being taken out on Sept. 7 by her family, which included Williams, her sister Brianna and their parents Holly and Todd, as well as two of her grandsons, Alex and Ryan Nieuwenhuis, and some other family friends. In total, there were 10 of them in attendance at the Giants pre-season tilt versus the Victoria Royals.
Midway through the first period, Thunstrom was escorted to the Fanboni, where the secret was finally revealed. And after taking a spin on the ice and posing for some pictures afterwards, Thunstrom had an ear-to-ear grin.
“They came up with this idea on their own. I think that is terrific,” she beamed. “I feel very lucky to have a family like this.”