Is Hockey Done in Dayton?

I recently attended the Dayton Demolition hockey game at Hara Arena and started pondering whether this could be the end of the 50 year old structure in Northwest Dayton.   In the last 7 years, Dayton hockey fans have moved from the Dayton Bombers  (1991-2009) to the Dayton Gems (2009-2012) to the Dayton Demonz (2012-2015) to the Dayton Demolition (2015-2016). Unfortunately, hockey gets next to zero news coverage in the Dayton area.  I’m pretty certain that high school bowling gets more media mentions in the Dayton Daily News than professional hockey…

Hara Arena brings back many personal memories for me.  I put on my Canadian Flyer skates and attempted my first strides on ice at the Hara rink more than 40 years ago.   I scored 5 goals in one game at the Hara rink when I was 10 years old and won the Most Improved Player award.   When I was 16 years old and playing in a men’s league game, I got into a fight at center ice against a 30 year old thug.  During the blizzard of 1979, I spent the night at Hara playing hockey for 5 straight hours and subsisting on pretzels and soda pop… During my teenage years, I also worked at Hara doing jobs such as cleaning the ice surface and selling tickets during concerts (Deep Purple being the most memorable).   I also took my sons during their youngster years to see Disney on-ice at Hara, and I gave my sons their remedial driving lessons in the Hara parking lot.

I suppose the ultimate irony is the fact that the Hara-owned Zamboni no longer works so they had to borrow the ice cleaning machine from the Wright State University, Nutter Center (see photo below).  I still greatly enjoy the minor league hockey games at Hara and feel that it’s a super value for the dollar.  However, with the run-down arena and the sparse turn-out of the 500 or so fans at the game, how much longer can this go on?

Dayton Demo Hockey Hara

Nutter Zamboni at Hara

Hara arena scorboard

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