If you are a lover of air hockey, then it is understandable if you are always hungry and on the lookout for air hockey-related knowledge. If you are a true fan, then you may know more than the average person about your favorite players and you may even have the game’s long history memorized from beginning to end. But, what about some of the more random facts? For instance, did you know that the air hockey table was designed to resemble an ice hockey rink?
It may look like it’s all fun and games when it comes to playing air hockey. However, it is not an easy sport- it requires intense hand-eye coordination, endurance, and impressive footwork if you want to stay ahead of the competition. However, there is more to air hockey than just pucks. So, fasten your seatbelt, because this is going to be a wild ride. Here are 5 cool things about the air hockey that you should know about:
Who is credited with inventing air hockey?
Air hockey, in its most basic form, is a wonderful consolidation of billiards and ice hockey. The 1969 patent claims that it was invented by 3 men- Bob Kenrick, Phil Crossman, and Brad Baldwin- who were all former employees of Brunswick Billiards, one of the more respected manufacturers of pool tables. A 4th partner, an enthusiast of the game named Bob Lemieux is also credited with inventing ice hockey.
With support from Brunswick Billiards, the group was able to start producing air hockey tables that were then installed all over in community centers, pizza parlors, and more. As a result, the game grew quickly. By 1974 air hockey had peaked with sportscasters even delivering commentary on the tense tournaments being held all over the country.
It’s nearly impossible to play air hockey without a table
The most essential piece of equipment that you need to start playing air hockey is the air hockey table itself. Air hockey was created so that people could refashion the experience of playing hockey on an actual rink. Air hockey tables come in all shapes, sizes, and designs, players just have to pick a table that suits their level of gameplay.
There are many different types of air hockey tables to choose from. However, if you are looking for a table to play competitively, you must get a model that’s been approved by the USAA, the organization responsible for establishing professional air hockey standards. This also means that you need lots of space capable of accommodating an 8-foot air hockey table.
If you are a casual player, there are plenty of options available for you to select. You can even find tabletop versions that you can use at home and tuck away easily when they’re not in use. And if you have kids that suffer from short attention spans, then you can also go for a multi-game table or one that has multiple game versions like billiards and ping pong.
The game nearly died in the early 80s.
By the 80s, air hockey’s popularity had started to fade thanks to the increased growth of technology. Kids were no longer interested in playing air hockey, but they instead seemed lured by the siren call of fancy games such as Pac Man and Space Invaders.
The game eventually made a resurgence thanks to a man known as Mark Robbins, who was able to convince Dynamo Corporation, one of the biggest and most successful manufacturers of foosball tables, to introduce air hockey into its long list of amusements which helped to revive the game.
Did you know that air hockey is played competitively?
Air hockey, like most high stakes sports, is as much a game of the mind as one of the body. Hungry competitors from all over the world gather in tournaments and competitions to become victors. The United States Air-Table Hockey Association or USAA, which was formed in 1975 is the body responsible for creating the professional standards for competitions and tournaments.
In 2015, another regulatory body, the Air Hockey Players Association, which was formed in 2015, was created to run independently of the USAA. The 2 organizations, however, work in tandem and share many of the same rules and players.
Every year, an air hockey tournament that dates back to 1978 is held. The youngest champion to ever win the title was Colin Cummings; he earned it in 2015 at just 16 years old. The longest winning record belongs to Tim Weissman, who won the title 9 for 9 years in a row.
How are hockey tables made?
Air hockey tables are relatively simple devices, even though all the flashing lights might suggest otherwise. Air hockey tables are manufactured using a slick plastic surface. The field is surrounded by raised edges that help the puck from flying off when players use force to hit it. The surface of the table has small holes that are drilled symmetrically across the surface so that an even and frictionless field is created.
The bottom of every table has a fan that blows air through the holes, which is what keeps the puck floating and creating the appearance that the puck is floating when it actually isn’t. The airflow is what also allows opposing players to keep hitting the puck across the end of the table without getting stuck.
This is why the puck typically keeps moving regardless of how much you try to stop it. Most air hockey tables maintain this basic design with the tables’ appearance and technology being updated through the years.
When it comes to beloved recreational activities and sports such as air hockey, there is no doubt that there are some loyal fans of the game out there. As such, casual air hockey players may not be aware of some of the more intimate details or unusual facts about the game. From crazy superstitions and strange game rules, air hockey has its fair share of odd stories and peculiar factoids that you will do well to know.