Hockey Hall of Famer looks back on Hara memories

The final era of Hara Arena (Maytal Levi / WDTN Photo)

TROTWOOD, Ohio (WDTN) — A Dayton Hockey Hall of Famer said goodbye Saturday to Hara Arena, a place he’s called home for more than 50 years.

Eighty-year-old Jim Wheeler was inducted into the Dayton Hockey Hall of Fame for his work as a goal judge, scorekeeper, and timekeeper at Hara Arena.

“One of the things when I went into the Hall of Fame, one of the famous players in Dayton he was a good friend of mine, and whenever he would see me, he said yeah, he’s in the Hockey Hall of Fame and he can’t even skate,” laughed Jim.

He started in 1964 and recalled when games would bring a packed house.

“The other teams from out of town hated to come in here because of the fan base and the loudness and the closeness to the ice,” reminisced Jim.

Jim tallied nearly 1,500 games not only for the Gems, but also the Bombers, and other teams that came in and out of the arena.  For Jim, the job at Hara was a hobby.

“We’d never gotten paid for it. Volunteered. So you know we loved it,” stated Jim. “People have asked me that have heard about Hara closing, what are you going to do?”

Now that Hara is closed for good, Jim said he’ll be taking with him many memories and enjoying hockey in the comfort of his own home watching it on TV.

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