Air Hockey – A Serious and Interesting Sport

In your childhood years, you most likely engaged in a few games of air hockey in the arcade with friends. If you were lucky, you may have even owned one at your house. Although you played for recreational use, did you know that air hockey is actually a competitive sport with a vast history?

The Beginning of Air Hockey

It should come as no surprise that air hockey was created by none other than a hockey fan. Actually, the concept of air hockey is known to have origins in 1969, when 3 employees from a pool table manufacturer, Brunswick Company, sought out to build a friction-less game table. However, due to the state of the gaming industry, the value or need for this type of game was not evident.

Flash forward three years to 1972, when Bob Lemieux, another employee from Brunswick Company, and a diehard hockey fan, began creating the infamous game of air hockey.

Mr. Lemieux wanted to create a game that allowed users to use mallets to knock flattened disks into slits on the other end of the table. With that thought in mind, he also began to engineer the air hockey table we know today. The air flowing through the table helped to simulate the way a puck moves on ice and he also added sensors to the ‘goals’ to help players keep score.

The authentic air hockey table patent actually names Lemieux, along with Kenrick and Crossman, two of the Brunswick Company engineers who attempted to start the air hockey table in 1969.

Bringing Air Hockey to Popularity

Upon arrival to the scene, air hockey was almost an instant success. However, Bob Lemieux wanted to expand upon the success by hosting the first ever United Air-Table Hockey World Championship in NYC. This drew a large crowd of players wanting to be crowned the “The Best Air Hockey Player in The World”.

This action-packed event provided a gigantic surge in popularity for the game, much to the pleasure of Mr. Lemieux.

The Introduction of Arcade Games

As you may have guessed, the introduction of arcade games brought a decline in interest for the sport of air hockey. The mid-80s were the hay day for arcade games, and air hockey was in jeopardy. Many bought up the tables to refurnish them and sell, others bought up the tables for antique value.

Although the sport of air hockey may have declined in popularity, the tables are still in family entertainment centers, arcades and other venues (and homes!) today.

The sport of air hockey is far from a dead one however. The sport is alive and well with individuals who are intensely passionate about the game.

Looking to add a air hockey table to your arcade or collection? Call Auction Game Sales at 1-800-551-0660 today. You never know what we’ll have at our many auctions throughout the region!