1. Challenges Facing
Last year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic many events had to be canceled including hockey tournaments and world championships. This year, however, with the increasing number of vaccinated people and relaxing guidelines from CDC, there is a good chance that tournaments will be held once again. At the very least, you can start playing air hockey at home with your friends. As long as COVID-19 SOPs and guidelines are followed, everything should pan out without any last-minute cancellations. So it’s time once again to wipe the dust off your pucks and strikers and get ready to win.
So where can you start if you want to play air hockey competitively and engage with other enthusiasts? First, acquaint yourself with the only two major air hockey tournaments, their venues, timings, enrolment fees, and enrolment cutoff dates. One is hosted by the Air Hockey Players Association (AHPA
) and the other is hosted by the United States Air hockey Association (USAA). It’s important to note that these are the big leagues and if you feel you are not ready for them, yet you should start with local tournaments for whichever skill level suits you. Generally, every year AHPA hosts their annual championship tournament in Colorado Springs, Colorado in July. Players from all over the world participate and this time AHPA is allowing tournament registration for amateurs so even if you are not at the professional level, yet you can participate. USAA
instead holds their World Championship a little earlier, usually in the first month of spring i.e. March.
2. Participation in Tournaments
Before you sign up and pay for your enrolment in one of these tournaments, there are some things you should be aware of. The main one of course is to know the rules of each tournament. The second is to know the categorization of different playing classes. For table hockey tournaments, the organizers are allowed to hold several competitions for the following classes:
You also have to decide if you will be playing doubles or singles and whether you want to join a club and/or a team. The top 25 players in the open category in the ITHF World Ranking are automatically qualified for the annual international championships (World Championships, European Championships) in the open category without having to qualify through a national or international qualification tournament. So before you can compete at that level you have to build up to it. The best way would be to start with local tournaments and taking your time to steadily climb the rankings.
3. STIGA Shootout
STIGA Tournaments are one of the biggest ones when it comes to Table Hockey. To see the winning players and the official table hockey ranking list, visit the official website of the International Table Hockey Federation. There you will find the table hockey world ranking list for the following categories:
The website also gives information about the algorithm on which the ranking is based, so you can use this information to rise up fast.
The following are three of the five major upcoming STIGA tournaments that you can still enroll in along with their location and dates: