Table hockey was first invented in the thirties by Mr. Munroe. The game was simply a slanted board with some pinball type flippers that could shoot a marble. The whole idea and design has since been changed considerably, now being designed more to the likeness of actual hockey.
The Table Hockey League, (THL), uses "Best of Seven" tables. The tables were all built in the early 1980's by Best of Seven Games Ltd. The small company had been doing well on their own until the large distributorship they were dealing with decided they didn't want to pay for the remaining 350 of 700 tables they had ordered and Best of Seven had to close their doors.
The table is constructed of solid oak, arbourite playing surface, fiberglass control rods with teflon gears, and score beads above the playing surface. Options that were introduced included an acrylic dome to prevent pucks from escaping, a coin operation system designed for arcades, lights mounted on the top and beverage caddies. The table stands over 5 feet at its highest point and weighs 185 pounds. The pucks are simply a ball bearing pressed inside of a plastic ring.
In "Best of Seven" table hockey there are two formats for game play that can be followed. The first format is to play a game up to 5 goals, basically designed for arcade play. The second is a timed game of a set duration as in ice hockey. In THL the second method is followed for league and tournament play. A match consists of two 5 minute games with no overtime. Players change sides for the second game in league play.
There is usually a ref present to drop a puck whenever a goal is scored or to enforce the rules. There are not many rules to break in table hockey so the ref has an easy job. The following are the rules used by the table hockey league.
The Table Hockey League is located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. We are always looking for more players to join the league and have a good time. Members of the league are also looking for more tables. As mentioned earlier the tables aren't being made anymore so they're a bit tough to locate. If you want anymore information on table hockey or on the league or if you have some comments about table hockey at all you can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org . or email@example.com .
BOS on The Bus! Well it looks like the BOS BUS is ready to depart with 11 games and 5 players on early Wednesday morning, Oct. 15th. arriving in Chicago Thursday sometime in the afternoon.
Plans are currently underway for a number of BOS players from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Red Deer, Alberta and Winslow, British Columbia to travel to Chicago in October, 2003. They will be hauling with them, as many as eight BOS tables and organizing a major scale tournament there. Correspondence with many former top Munro players in the US from the 70's and 80's indicate their attendence from such cities as Boston and Phili. Article posted August 9th, 2003. For more information on this story, contact Lionel Fauchoux at firstname.lastname@example.org . or visit www.tablehockeytavern.com.
Canadian SPORTS Collector magazine, May, 2003. Best of Seven table hockey tourney. Story and photos by Matt Ross.
Chalking his hands to preserve his fingertips, table hockey player Andrew Bazan performs his pre-game rituals with a religious fanaticism.
A series of Zen-like idiosyncrasies including meditation and bandaging his hands might seem out of place for a game that is usually enjoyed at a recreational level. However, such seriousness and focus contributed towards a successful defence of his title at the second annual Best of Seven Western Canadian championship in Saskatoon last month.
With 35 years of operating his miniature men in this condensed version of the national sport, Bazan, 39, from Vancouver, represents a rising trend of players who will travel long distances in North America and Europe in the pursuit of competition. As other participants attended from Chicago, Toronto and throughout the Prairies, the interest in the Best of Seven (BOS) game is experiencing a resurgence from its humble Saskatchewan roots.
Somebody who hasn't played in 10 or 20 years can step in and immediately go to their old two, three or four plays, Bazan said about how this game plays so well without complications. At one time or another, Bazan has collected 147 different models of table hockey and believes without question the BOS contains one of the premier designs.
Handcrafted in Prince Albert, 482 games found their way into the basements and recreation centres 20 years ago, predominantly in the western provinces. Before the Best of Seven company stopped operations in 1984 following a two-year run, 321 of the 1.5 meter tall, bubble-domed games were created and were identifiable with serial numbers while the remainder of what was constructed became a hybrid of leftover oak frames and generic parts.
Besides the aesthetics of this pastime, the signature of the BOS is its durability along with the realism of play. that's why two decades after these games were sold at retail, they have maintained their value.
Originally listed with a price tag of $2,495, the games could be found for as little as $400 in the mid-80's as the Hudson Bay Wholesale and Vending Company dumped what models it had remaining. Yet, these games have withstood the test of time and even after conservative estimates of thousands of contests of these memorabilia of Canadiana would be considered very good.
In addition to the five-centimetre thickness of oak surrounding the ice surface that give these games a heft of 83 kilograms, the plastic dome has made it unnecessary to touch the players or the surface and thereby eliminate accidental breakage. A gear system, which is solidly encased in a mold, operates eachman and provides smooth play while being able to withstand the rigidity of contact with a ball bearing puck.
One of the original investors in the company, Lionel Fauchoux, says that within the community of BOS players, each table easily can command $1,500 while some of the better, original models can be sold for double that. Because each game was individually made and slight modifications occurred, Fauchoux points out that factors such as gears, net sizes and light standards are all contributable towards the value of an individual table. Still, he says, it's the earlier games that fetch a higher price because of the men's design.
The formula (in making the plastic men) was lost and they had to complete these games because they had all those expensive pieces of woodwork already completed, Fauchoux commented about the haste in the design of the last one-third of the models.
According to Fauchoux, there are still 16 tops of the game and eight bottom cabinets sitting in a warehouse in northern Saskatchewan and with the parts he has, he has recently pieced together two more games. When looking for original BOS men, he found they were being sold for $50, although even with the generic men, malfunctions of the game such as a player breaking is rare.
In addition to the playability and durability of the BOS, it is now becoming preferred among adults for a much more pratical reason.
Every adult game has tried to re-invent the wheel and yet they missed such an obvious flaw as the game is at the waist (height) or below Bazan says this can often lead to back problems. He should know because after a 10-hour tournament with more than 30 games in that time, body preservation is vital. For more information on the Best of Seven, the game's Web site is www.oocities.com/best_of_seven and for table hockey in gereral, www.tablehockey.com.
Canadian SPORTS Collector magazine, September 2001. The Good 'Ol Hockey Game.
I read the "Hey, I Had One of Those," articles on your web site. Very interesting. I have a Best of Seven table hockey game originally manufactured in Prince Albert, SK, and apparently distributed through The Bay department stores. Do you have any infromation as to its worth? Are there collectors looking for them?
Thanks, John, via e-mail
According to Lionel Fauchoux, an experienced table hockey collector, of Saskatoon, Sk, sale prices in recent years have ranged from $150 all the way to $4,400 depending on condition and serial number. A broken one just sold for $700 U.S. on eBay which is considered a bargain. Back in 1983 they retailed for $2,495, but today if you have a game in good working condition, most collectors will pay $1,000 to $1,500Cdn. for; maybe more if the game came with a supply of parts, as parts are quite rare. Lionel, whose brother and some friends developed the game, says its's hard to determine the size of the collector pool, but because of the durability and esthetic value of the Best of Seven game, it's one of the most sought after tabletop games. With the base made of solid oak, collectors consider it almost like a piece of furniture for their rec rooms. Fauchoux recently put several of his own tables up for sale and says he was flooded with bids from as far way as Baltimore, MD.
Canadian SPORTS Collector magazine, June 2001. Retro Table Hockey. Article by Lionel Fauchoux
Hello, I read your article on tabletop hockey games and found it very interesting. Yes, I fit into the baby boomer division also and have recently gotten back into playing tabletop hockey with my children, I have a little extra history with tabletop hockey as my brother and some of his friends developed and manufactured a game called "Best of Seven Tabletop Hockey" back in 1983. It was and still is according to me, the best quality tabletop hockey game out there, even today. Since I recently moved to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, I found out there was a tabletop hockey league that uses the Best of Seven game and my son and I are enjoying the action and nostalgia (for me) of it all.