Air Hockey World Championship

As far back as 1973, air hockey players in the southern States of the USA formed the Houston Air Hockey Association and then subsequently the Texas Air Hockey Players association. Between them, these two organisations established a set of rules and began to promote the game by having local tournaments.

These local tournaments became more widespread and so, in order to ensure that the same quality of gamesmanship was played at competitive levels, The United States Air-Table Hockey Association was established in 1975 and acted as an official sanctioning body. This put control into the players hands and established a set of common sense rules.

Since 1975 the USAA has held at least one national-level or World championship every year. The USAA remains the only worldwide player organization for air hockey to this day. There is a small body of elite players who have established air hockey as a competitive sport.

Tournament level air hockey is played on a 8ft table. There are only six tables that are sanctioned by the USAA: five of these are made by Dynamo and one by Brunswick. There are also very specific guidelines for type of puck and mallet. The premise of triumphing is simple: the first to seven points wins. Strict USAA rules must be adhered to.

Air hockey tournaments are “double-elimination” and they often have “spinoff tournaments” – a tournament within a tournament, if you will. If you get eliminated from the main tournament, you can then compete in a smaller tournament with the other players who all got knocked out at the same stage as you. This helps to establish a more precise overall ranking of top class players.

In tournament level air hockey, there are seven rankings: Beginner (Level 0) through to Grand Master (Level 6). These help to ascertain a handicap level for each player, which is then reviewed weekly by tournament directors based on Weekly and Major tournament performance.

In recent years the world of competitive air hockey has been dominated by Danny Hynes, who hails from Texas, USA. He remains number one in the domestic and international rankings. Other notable players include Billy Stubbs from Illinois and Ehab Shoukry, also from Texas. The world rankings are dominated by Americans, with scarce representation from other countries, with the exception of Venezuela.

The 2013 Air Hockey World Championship is due to be held in Brunswick in Naperville, Illinois from 17-20 October.