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About

WHAT:
The National Table Hockey League is the new avatar of Hockey Sur Table Quebec. The founders of Hockey Sur Table Quebec, in 2005, were Martin Labelle, Carlo Bossio, and Denis Begin. In 2008 Burt Brassard replaced Denis. In 2009 Martin retired, and was replaced by Dany Leclerc. When Dany relocated to Thailand in 2011, Lou Marinoff joined Carlo and Burt. In 2014, Hockey Sur Table Quebec was reborn as the National Table Hockey League. In 2017, Carlo Bossio officially took over operations of the NTHL. The NTHL is the premier league for Classic Coleco table hockey, sanctioning between five to seven tournaments each year. These tournaments comprise the NTHL's Masters Series, at which top players vie for the World Cup (formerly, the Quebec Cup). The NTHL supports classic table hockey at all levels, so every NTHL-sanctioned event also awards medals to winners in B and C divisions. The NTHL recognizes school leagues for children, and a children's division can be included in some NTHL events. From 2006-2016, HTQ- and/or NTHL-sanctioned events have been organized in Chicago by Jim Rzonca, in Detroit by Eric Kroll, in Gatineau by Eric Desjardins, in Montreal by Carlo Bossio, in New York by John Fayolle, in Quebec by Burt Brassard, in Sherbrooke by Martin Labelle, in Ste-Hyacinthe by Dany Leclerc, and in Toronto by Dave Kraehling. The NTHL's mission is to encourage table hockey players of all ages to play at their best: whether for fun, camaraderie, competition, self-development, or all of the above. In the process, the NTHL also showcases the best classic players in the world, an amazing array of table hockey talent. Football is a game of inches, and seconds. Classic table hockey is a game of millimeters, and tenths of a second. It's also a sport for life, and an arena for champions. Whether you win or lose at table hockey, playing this sport competitively makes you a winner in life.

WHO:
Top North American players compete at NTHL events, along with many competitive B and C level players, sometimes a few courageous Europeans, as well as children (in their own division). The talent pool is deep, such that competition for the top-10 and every other place is meaningful, and ferocious. Off the table, the players form a community, and resemble a large family; but on the table, they give no quarter and take no prisoners. The current top four players -- Carlo Bossio, Gino Bossio, Sam Anoussis, and Pat Cote -- are in a class by themselves. Among currently active NTHL players, these four have dominated all the tournaments in which they have played. Among them, they have won tournaments in every HTQ or NTHL city. In 2013-14 they monopolized all the medals, except in Chicago where none of them played. Among them, Carlo Bossio is the undisputed king of classic table hockey. Pat Cote won the first-ever Quebec Cup in 2006-07, but since then Carlo has been invincible. "The King" reeled off the next six consecutive Quebec Cups (2008-2013), and in 2014 he won the NTHL's inaugural World Cup. To be that dominant in this field of champions is an unprecedented feat in the sport of table hockey. In the process Carlo has fought off many challengers, mowing down every pretender to the throne. More than a king, he's a one-man dynasty.

WHERE & WHEN:
Table Hockey is played mostly in countries and regions familiar with ice hockey, such as Canada, USA, Europe, Scandinavia, and Russia. Europeans favor the Stiga board, and have their own leagues and championships. North Americans play on a variety of boards including Coleco, Irwin, Munro, Benej, Chexx, Stiga, and more. In North America, the Coleco Classic model #5380 and its direct descendants have been a board of choice for organized league and tournament play for more than 40 years, since the early 1970s. The strongest concentrations of top classic players are also in the historic "hotbed" cities of hockey: especially the "original six" NHL cities and their surrounding areas: Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Montreal, New York, and Toronto. Munro sponsored table hockey tournaments in these six cities back in the 1970s, and a few players who are still active today (like Ron Marsik and Lou Marinoff) played in several of them. The NTHL's sanctioned events in its "Master's Series" take place in several cities. Past NTHL events have also unfolded in Gatineau, Saint-Hyacinthe and Sherbrooke. As with the NHL, the NTHL's dominant players come from Quebec and Ontario, with many other strong players from the US eastern seaboard, the mid-west, the prairie provinces, and the west coast. Montreal has historically enjoyed the strongest concentration of top classic players. In the 2013-14 season, the top five players were all either born or raised in Montreal, and the top four still live there. YouTube houses tables hockey videos galore, including some of the hottest NTHL contests. If you want to see classic table hockey played live, at the highest levels, just come out to any NTHL event. We do not charge admission. If you want to play organized table hockey and want to join or start a league, just send an email to our contact's link. We will try to help you get into the sport, wherever you are. The NTHL encourages classic table hockey leagues wherever they spring up. Check our calendar for upcoming NTHL events.

WHY:
Why did you, why do you, or why would you play table hockey? Here are ten good reasons:
1. Your brother or brothers play. During the Golden Age of table hockey, nuclear families were the norm, and millions of siblings played. Brothers, and sisters too. Not to mention cousins. Brothers were dominant forces back then, like the Marinoffs and the Ettingers, and they still are dominant today, like the Bossios, the Cotes, and the Anoussis's. The current top 5 players all have or had brothers who play. Not a coincidence! And all of them from Montreal. There's no escape in Ontario. If you ever play in Brampton's Johnny Good Guy, you'll encounter more dominant brothers, including the Walmas, the Moultons, the O'Hagens, and the Reardons (from Buffalo). Everywhere you look, it's a brother's game.

2. You found new brothers who play. In this age of single-child families, boys can discover brotherhood through table hockey. Playing table hockey makes people bond in a healthy way. All their aggression is vented on the ice, in competitive play, like knights jousting in a tournament. But off the ice they share a bond of brotherhood, and community, like knights at a round-table. All strive for the same cause: to be the best they can be at this sport.

3. Your father plays. More and more, we are seeing father-son combinations, from Chicago's Thills to Toronto's Walmas and Beedhams. Montreal has the Decaries and Douvilles, and the Montreal-NY connection has the Marinoffs, Lou and Julian, the first father-son combo to make the NTHL's top-10. Table hockey is a great way to re-connect fathers and sons.

4. You're a girl whose brother or boyfriend or spouse plays. Girls and women can be excellent table hockey players. The sport does not rely at all on brute strength; rather on relaxed concentration, anticipation, improvisation, and rapid execution of precise eye-hand movements. The sport is intensely competitive, yet utterly non-violent. Girls and women are always welcome to play. It's great to see them in the sport. Many more girls will start playing as the NTHL encourages the sport in more schools.

5. You love ice hockey. If you love playing ice hockey, roller-hockey, road hockey, ball hockey, ring hockey, field hockey or even video hockey, you will love playing table hockey. Why? Because table hockey captures all the essential features of ice hockey: skating, stick-handling, passing, shooting, checking, defense, goaltending, coaching, overtime, you name it. No other miniaturized game so faithfully mirrors the components and spirit of the scaled-up sport -- except for injuries. In table hockey, there are no concussions, no high sticks to the face, no stitches, no knee injuries, no fights. All the fun of hockey, minus the downsides.

6. You do it for love, not for money. Classic table hockey, like most North American table hockey, is played for love of the sport, for intense fun, and maybe a trophy if it's your day. Players travel to Master's Series tournaments not because they get paid to, on the contrary, they are glad to pay their own way, flying in or car-pooling or whatever. They also pay to play, because their entry fees help support the tournament itself. Players assemble as a community, but once the puck is dropped they play with passion, and for glory. One hundred percent pure glory: that's glorious, and priceless. The players' professionalism and proficiency are evident in the many videos online, but you have to see them live to experience their intensity. It's fueled by passion, not pay.

7. You want to develop laser-like concentration, lightning-fast reflexes, and razor-sharp hand-eye coordination. People who play table hockey regularly develop these skills and more. There's no ADHD on the table-hockey tour. If you can focus on the board for five minutes against your opponent, you can focus off the board, at work, study, whatever for as many hours without losing concentration.

8. You want to maintain good posture, and avoid carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive stress disorders that plague computer users and gamers. Table hockey is played upright, and it engages the large muscle groups (legs, back, shoulders, arms) as well as the hands and fingers. It's actually a full-body workout, and your brain itself will burn a ton of calories if you play in a league or tournament.

9. You want a regular dose of reality, for you and/or your kids, to balance all the time you're spending in virtual places with social media, texting, videos, and everything else that's online. But we humans are embodied beings, not brains in vats or programs in the Matrix, and we need to balance virtuality with reality. Table hockey is a great way to accomplish this: It promotes socialization, sportsmanship, friendship, among other virtues that make people happier and more functional in the real world.

10. You want to cut down on violence in your school. Table hockey is an effective and non-violent way for children and adolescents to "blow off steam" or channel aggression. Table hockey allows you to savor victory, without bloodshed. And your opponent can later turn the tables on you, and get equally bloodless revenge. The teachers at Ste Sophie School told the NTHL that ever since they instituted organized table hockey, schoolyard violence has simply stopped. There's a big message here for America, where school violence has become a deadly epidemic. If only more kids played organized table hockey, there would be much less violence. That's the NTHL's prediction, and solution: Let them shoot pucks instead of bullets.