BLAINE, Minn. – (March 8, 2018) – The Winter Olympics ended last month but those who were a part of the Olympic experience will continue telling their stories for years to come. Ryan Hevern works as an ice technician at both the National Sports Center and Xcel Energy Center. A few months ago he was approached about working as an ice technician during the Olympics. He jumped at the opportunity and spent three weeks in South Korea.
“You take care of the ice, edge it, scrape it, flood it, make it hockey ready,” Hevern said.
He took in many hockey games as a part of his duties in South Korea, but one game will always hold a special place in his heart.
“The USA women winning gold,” he said. “that was one of the the better moments of my entire life, we all were sitting behind the net just screaming, I lost my voice actually, I had tears flowing from my eyes, I mean, the first rink I learned how to drive on was the USA women’s rink here, rink number six, for me it was very special for me.”
When Ryan first learned to drive a Zamboni on this rink, from his Dad when he was just 18 years old, he never thought that skill would take him to the other side of the world. While in Korea, he was able to experience a culture that was unlike anything he had experienced before.
“We were busy every day, but you know we got to go out every night or every morning, you know and a lot of Korean barbecues and chicken places,” he said. “You definitely immerse yourself into it, it’s not really as hard as you’d think, you just keep moving and keep doing.”
Ryan really enjoyed the team he was able to work with in South Korea and felt like they were able to work well together despite their language barrier.
“I guess the people that I worked with, the teamwork together, we wouldn’t have been able to do it without being a team and I was grateful for the time I had with those guys, a lot of them I may not ever see again, we really tried to drink it in while we were there, and you just couldn’t ask for a better group of North American drivers and a better group of Korean guys and three Japanese drivers that were out there too…we’re all just there trying to make the ice as good as possible,” he said
Since returning from Korea, Hevern has jumped back into work at the Super Rink and at Xcel. He said that he’d love to be asked to work future Olympics but if that doesn’t happen, he will always treasure this experience.