While it is not generally thought of as a professional sport by the general public, but one that you generally play at places like arcades or other various gaming venues.
Believe it or not, Air Hockey is a professional sport and while the sport is still growing on a competitive scale – after all, it has only been here since the 1970s and there are leagues, records and there is even somebody in the Guinness Book of World Records for the sport, more on that in a bit, along with an official governing body.
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If you want to see it in real life here is a link that shows some local tournaments.
Since the game was invented in the 1970s, which was originally marketed as Brunswick Billiards and the sport took off in the state of Texas, the game took a dip in the 1980s but its popularity has picked up since then.
There still are some players considered to be great and today we will be talking about six of them.
It is highly unlikely that when Colin Cummings’ neighbor invited him to play hockey at just 10 years old would he know that 10 years later he would be a seven-time Air Hockey world champion or go into the Guinness Book of World Records as being the youngest player to ever have had won a world championship at the age of 16 years old beating Billy Stubbs 7-6, 1-7, 7-6, 4-7, 6-7, 6-7, which is four games to two.
Another thing he may or may not have realized. His neighbor happened to be Steven Accrocco, whom he eventually squared off against in 2012 in the under-14 tournament, a match which he won.
Cummings, who is currently ranked the top air hockey player in the world is the most recent World Championship this year and it happened the weekend of Aug 12-14 where he beat Jacob Weissman.
Watching Cummings play you can see him play with extreme finesse but also has a ridiculously fast shot at around 60 miles per hour.
Tim Weissman comes from a slightly different era and is now retired from being an Air Hockey Pro but during his career, he had incredible numbers. One of his most impressive stats is that he won 10 world titles and 28 tournaments in a row.
Weissman also had another advantage that a lot of people probably don’t think about when it comes to physicality in that he has extremely long arms that dangle out to his knees. So why would that be an advantage?
It allows him to reach a lot further across the board as there is no limit to how quickly to the goal you can bring your Air Hockey tablet to your own goal. Weissman was the subject of a documentary called Way of the Puck which describes the overall environment of the professional air hockey space.
He retired from the sport in 2000 and is now a psychologist by trade.
Jacob is majoring in psychology at Houston Baptist University and it doesn’t appear that he and Tim Weissman have any relation. The 2017 world champion is currently number two in the world behind Colin Cummings.
While Mark Robbins has his share of accomplishments such as having won two world championships and being the number one ranked player in the world as a professional air hockey player, he has also influenced the game itself as well.
Robbins, who is also the son of one of the former Presidents of Atari, was able to convince Dynamo Corps to make another version of the table on which he plays on and also designed Air Hockey tables for 30 years and even contributed to the distribution of how many companies made Air Hockey Tables.
Ever heard of Air Hockey tables made by Dynamo in addition to their foosball tables? You can thank Robbins for that as he was able to help design and sell hockey tables to the public.
The basic idea behind why Air Hockey was invented is because it was a good way to play the game non-violently and you don’t have to play the game on skates, something which can become extremely popular in places that don’t have cold climates.
After all, even today when the World Air Hockey championships are played that is done in Houston, Texas.
Logically if Justin Flores had never gotten interested in photography then it might be assumed he might have never gotten interested in air hockey. So what is the connection? The sport fascinated him when he was taking photos of his sport for his college newspaper 13 years ago.
Even if he isn’t playing against professionals that won’t stop him from having a competitive streak. As a matter of fact on the New York Air Hockey Facebook page, he made a bet that if anyone came to his bar and beat him then he would buy them a beer.
Billy Stubbs is a huge Chicago Cubs and has compared Air Hockey to pitching in baseball in that it requires some of the same sets of skills. The above article says that it does require quick reflexes, strategy, hand-eye coordination, and a handful of other skills which helped him become a four-time world champion.
So who is the best air hockey player in the world? While trying to figure that out is subjective if you go strictly by championships and when they started, etc. the logical choice could be Colin Cummings.
What is air hockey good for? It’s a good way to work on your reflexes and reactionary time as you figure out the angles and speed at which the puck adjusts to get into the opponent’s goal.