St Julie, Quebec, March
The reign of Carlo Bossio as “King”
of the classic 5380 table has reached its fifth consecutive
year. Even though Carlo lost to his brother Gino in the
finals in St Julie, the undisputed “King” finished
on top of the field in the 2011-12 Quebec Cup race.
The race is decided by each player’s
best 3 results in the 5-tournament cycle. This season, Hockey
sur Table Quebec held its 5 sanctioned events in Chicago
(July 2011), Montreal (October 2011), St Hyacinth (November
2011), Quebec City (February 2012), and St Julie (March
Carlo did not simply waltz his way to the
cup. Burt Brassard won the opening event, in Chicago, where
Carlo didn’t play. Dany Leclerc mounted a strong challenge
soon after that, losing to Carlo in the Montreal finals
but defeating him in the St. Hyacinth finals – with
a gritty come-from-behind performance. As Burt didn’t
play either of those events, he immediately fell off the
pace. So after three events, Carlo and Dany were tied for
the lead, with identical 1-2 records.
Quebec City was the turning point for Carlo.
Historically he has not played his best table hockey in
historic Quebec City, but this year, going in tied with
Dany, he was determined to pull ahead. Carlo defeated Pat
in the finals, while Michel Decarie, who has become a very
dangerous player, took third spot. Dany could not sustain
the pace at this event, where he finished seventh.
Carlo took the lead in Quebec City,
left: Michel; Decarie, #3. right: Pat Cote, #2. Photo Lou
I received an honorable mention in Quebec,
for edging out Burt in a 5-game series. Burt led 4-3 with
a minute to play in game 5, but I rallied with 3 unanswered
goals to prevail 6-4. That helped Carlo too, as Burt finished
ninth on the day. Burt was looking for a better number than
that, to accompany his #1 from the Chicago event. Meanwhile
I lost to Carlo in the quarterfinals, but went on to beat
Sam and secure a 5th–place finish.
So the stage was set for the final event,
in St Julie. Dany still had a mathematical chance of winning
the Quebec Cup, but it was a slim one. Carlo went into St
Julie with a record of 1-1-2; while Dany’s record
was 1-2-7. For Dany to win the Quebec Cup, he’d have
to win in St Julie and also hope that Carlo finished 8th
or worse. If that happened, Dany and Carlo would be tied
1-1-2 in their best three results, but Dany would win the
tiebreak, with his 7th place over Carlo’s 8th or worse
-- a very long shot indeed.
All the top seeds came through to the quarter
finals in St Julie, and suddenly I found myself facing Carlo.
At this stage Carlo knew that all he had to do was win our
quarterfinal series, and the Quebec Cup was his. If Carlo
made the semifinals, he could finish no worse than 4th on
the day, and thus his season record would be 1-1-2-4. Even
if Dany won the event, Dany’s 1-1-2-7 season record
would not be good enough to deprive Carlo of his fifth consecutive
So Carlo needed to beat me to clinch the
Quebec Cup. I knew this before the opening faceoff, but
even so I was not prepared for the furious onslaught that
ensued. Carlo was taking no chances with me, and in a way
it was a kind of compliment. Right from the opening face-off,
he shifted into a gear I didn’t know he possessed.
I don’t recall touching the puck, except to fish it
out of my net. It took Carlo about two-and-a-half minutes
to complete a 7-0 “mercy killing.”
Quebecers favor the “mercy rule,”
because it reflects their idea of fairness. Whenever someone
attains a 7-goal lead, the game is stopped then and there.
On the one hand, it prevents stronger players from running
up unnecessarily huge scores against weaker ones, who might
understandably become demoralized losing by 10 or 15 goals.
On the other hand, stronger players can run up huge scores
against each other too, and it happens in every tournament.
A hot hand on one side, and a little carelessness on the
other, can lead to a 7-goal differential in pretty short
Except in this case Carlo was more than
hot; he was explosive. And I wasn’t careless; I was
simply transformed into a spectator. Our game #2 was a replay
of game #1, but this time I managed to score a lone goal,
and went down 8-1 in about 3 minutes flat.
Carlo had played two games like a possessed
maniac, and it actually took something out of him. Quite
a lot. He seemed to sag visibly as game #3 started, like
a boxer who punches himself out. While I was still fresh.
After all, getting blown out of two games doesn’t
require much energy. So I was able to take advantage of
Carlo’s suddenly weakened condition, and started pumping
in some goals. After 5 or 6 of them, Carlo actually slumped
to the ground. I mean, he was down on the floor! I think
I asked the referee to count him out. That would have been
a first: a table hockey KO. Then Carlo recovered somewhat,
but I beat him 8-5. A little redemption!
quarter-final action, Carlo vs Lou,
ref Michael Brossard, photo John Fayolle
In game 4, we were neck-and-neck. Tied at
4-4 with under a minute to play, Carlo got the go-ahead
goal. With time waning, I had to take some chances, in the
hope of equalizing, but he capitalized with an insurance
goal to win 6-4. Still, I had a chance to take him to a
fifth game, where anything can happen. But Carlo’s
mission was accomplished. He had made the final four, and
thus the Quebec Cup was his, no matter what Dany did.
As it happens, Dany lost his quarterfinal
series. So Carlo faced off against Michel in one semifinal,
while Gino played Pat in the other. Both series went to
the limit. Carlo prevailed over Michel in five games, while
Gino took down the ever-dangerous Pat in five as well. So
the Bossio brothers squared off in the final. Carlo had
already clinched the Quebec Cup, and his two series against
Michel and me had obviously drained him.
semi-final: Michel takes
Carlo to 5 games
ref: Michael Brossard. photo: John Fayolle
semi-final: Gino prevails
ref: Andre Pigeon. photo: John Fayolle
Gino, who once again had managed to nap
during the earlier rounds, waking up in time for the playoffs,
was clearly the fresher of the two. Gino defeated Carlo
in four games, impressively winning the St Julie event and
catapulting himself upward in the overall standings (see
Gino and Carlo share a smile during the finals
photo: John Fayolle
Top 3 in St Julie: Pat
Cote #3, Gino Bossio #1, Carlo Bossio #2
photo: John Fayolle
Dany gave Carlo a run for his money this
season, especially in the first half. But Dany had other
things on his mind as well, pretty major ones at that. Having
just married his Thai fiancée this spring, Dany relocated
to Bangkok at the end of March. So the St Julie event was
also a kind of farewell party for Dany and his bride. Dany
Leclerc is a great table hockey player, friend, and organizer.
He also has a fabulous sense of humor, and he will be missed.
I promised to bring a board with me when I visit him in
Thailand, and look forward to playing him there. We will
rumble in the jungle! Meanwhile, we all wished Dany “bon
Dany "spotlights" Carlo.
Photo John Fayolle
Congratulations to Carlo on his fifth consecutive
Quebec Cup. It’s not easy winning even one of these,
let alone five straight. Every single year, Carlo has had
to fend off challenges from the best players on the HSTQ
circuit. He won his first Cup in 2007-08, defeating defending
champion Pat Cote. In 2008-09, the great Martin Labelle
took Carlo to the wire, where Carlo prevailed 1-1-1 over
Martin’s 1-1-3. In 2009-10, Gino made a serious run,
but once again Carlo triumphed, this time by a narrow 1-1-2
to 1-1-3. In 2010-11, it was Sam’s turn to mount a
threat, but Carlo delivered a 1-1-1 to Sam’s 1-2-2.
And in 2011-2012, as we have seen, Carlo fended off Dany
to win his fifth straight Cup.
This season's top-ten are:
1. Carlo Bossio
2. Pat Cote
3. Gino Bossio
4. Dany Leclerc
5. Michel Decarie
6. Lou Marinoff
7. Sam Anoussis
8. Eric Larochelle
9. Daniel Bordeleau
10. Burt Brassard
The final standings for this
season, as well as previous seasons, can be viewed at
If you think it was easy dominating this
pack for five years – Pat, Martin, Gino, Sam, Dany,
along with Michel, Burt, Eric and yours truly striving to
move up – then come out and give it a try. You’ll
soon discover why Carlo Bossio is the greatest player ever
to touch the classic 5380 table.
More pics from St
Julie, courtesy of John Fayolle: