For Craig Hinderleider a passion for ice hockey in his childhood turned into a career path.
Hinderleider grew up playing hockey at the Allen Park Ice Rink for the Jamestown Lakers starting at the age of 8 years old and continuing through high school.
“Playing hockey as a kid was a unique opportunity; hockey is a sport that takes a lot of hard work, time and effort for all of the players and families involved,” Hinderleider said.
In August 2002 with the anticipated opening of a new ice arena downtown, Hinderleider a recent high school graduate found an opportunity for a part-time job while attending college.
“On my first day I had to wear a hard hat to work,” Hinderleider recalled. “I was given a push broom and was told to sweep the floor of the rink to get it ready for the ice.”
Early that fall the arena opened its doors to our community and Hinderleider continued to work part time hours through college as a general maintenance worker, Zamboni driver and skate host.
When he graduated from SUNY Fredonia with a bachelor’s degree in accounting a full time position opened up and he was hired as the operations manager.
Today, Hinderleider serves as the director of operations. Over a decade later he continues in a professional capacity at the arena but can also be found still doing what he loves, coaching youth and adult hockey training clinics, lacing up his skates to play in the adult hockey league or even occasionally taking the Zamboni out to cut the ice.
“What I appreciate most about my job is watching visitors enjoy themselves at our facility,” Hinderleider reflected. “Whether it is the players and parents in the building you get to know over the years, or a tournament or concert attendee that get to visit Jamestown for the first time and leave with a positive impression.”
The Northwest Arena is a constant flow of activity during any season of the year. Home to sports organizations such as the Jamestown Skating Club, Chautauqua County Youth Hockey Association, Jamestown Adult Hockey League and the Jamestown Rebels, the facility also hosts public skates, drop in hockey sessions and serves as the venue for countless community events and fundraisers.
With everything the Northwest Arena has to offer a busy schedule doesn’t slow down a hardworking team of staff members from delivering on its reputation as a premier sports facility and event venue for the region.
One of its most valuable team players has to be Hinderleider, who’s experience, knowledge and passion for what he does continues to come together as a winning hat-trick for the arena and our community.