By Taylor Pace
At Western Michigan University, the 20-year-old supervisor of Lawson Ice Arena and Gable Natatorium, Ben Vanderbroek, works behind the scenes driving the zamboni to keep the ice fresh at Lawson.
According to Vanderbroek, working as a student and a supervisor requires time management skills. It is a huge component no matter the work shift at Lawson Ice Arena.
While Vanderbroek enjoys working afterhours, sometimes as late as 2 a.m., working hockey games is the most enjoyable part of his job. “Driving games is always fun,” Vanderbroek said. “It’s a great opportunity to get to watch hockey, which I really enjoy, especially the packed house for the Notre Dame game my freshman year. It’s a very exciting atmosphere.”
As a supervisor at Lawson, Vanderbroek’s days start early and the nights go late. He has to come in for some shifts starting at 7 a.m., then go to class during the day, have time to do his homework and study, and sometimes needs to go back to work for the second shift at 3 p.m. Working the different shifts involves driving the ice every hour as well as scheduling events, Vanderbroek said. If he has an event such as a skating party, and then a middle school hockey game right after, he makes sure the party gets off the ice at a reasonable time so he can clean the ice, with giving the hockey team enough time for their game.
Vanderbroek sees some pretty interesting things while working. “Somebody had a pool party once, and there was an ex-WMU hockey player that plays in the NHL right now, for the [Detroit Red] Wings,” Vanderbroek said. “They got caught because they tried to get his jet ski through the doors to the pool.”