Congressman pushing for protection on the ice

Rep. Bruce Braley is taking his next political showdown to the rink — the hockey rink, that is.

 Just before some of his colleagues lace up for Sunday’s Congressional Hockey Challenge charity game, the Iowa Democrat and avid hockey fan is calling for a law in his home state that would require indoor ice rinks to monitor air quality.

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Braley says dangerous gases, such as carbon monoxide, can sometimes be released from a common feature (and fan favorite) at rinks: the Zamboni.

The lawmaker, who recently watched from the stands as his nephew competed in a hockey tournament, worries that the slow-moving ice resurfacing machines can release emissions in older rinks that aren’t well-ventilated, and sicken both skaters and cheering fans.

Air-monitoring devices, he contends, would protect both patrons and kids on the ice. But Braley makes clear that the beloved Zamboni isn’t the enemy here, acknowledging, “Everyone wants to ride the Zamboni.” He also points out that new, battery-powered versions of the machines could reduce the emissions problem.

When ITK inquired as to whether Braley would do a victory lap on a Zamboni if his ice-rink legislation is passed, he replied, “That would be fun,” before quickly adding, “But the most important thing is my nephew, who plays hockey, and all those other hockey players who use these facilities.”