Everything changed in 1955, when an engineer named Bill Kobayashi was hired by Eagle Toys in Montreal. Bill revolutionized table hockey by designing a system of rods and slots, which enabled the men to move up and down the ice. This also allowed them to play with a puck instead of a marble.
Bill’s transformation of table hockey, combined with the “baby-boomers,” helped usher in a Golden Age, during which 12-14 million units were sold in Canada alone. Everybody had a board at home, and most everybody played — boys and girls alike.
The model on the left is the “Classic” Coleco 5380. Note the “art-deco” table.
By the late sixties and early seventies, these kids who had played table hockey as a game now considered it a sport. An adult sport, sometimes related to drinking. Here’s a tournament filmed in New York around 1971. New Yorkers s will enjoy Stan Fischler, while Montrealers will be entertained by Nick Auf Der Mar picking the “three stars.”. Quite a cast of characters, and what a party!
In the early 1970s, Munro produced a classic “hard core” board in the US, namely the Bobby Orr and Bobby Hull models. The gear-driven men and ball bearing puck made for a combination of power and finesse.
In the mid-70s, sponsored by Munro, the World Table Hockey Association held tournaments in most of the “original six” NHL cities. Lou and his brother Sid played their first-ever tournament in New York, in 1975.
The Munro boards boast some great champions, like Ron Marsik, still competing today. In the pic, Lou is sparring with Kenny Dubois, current US Monro champion, and a master on many tables.
By 1978 Munro was gone, and Coleco dominated the action. That’s when Lou emerged as the dominant force in Coleco. In this brief 1981 clip, filmed in Boucherville, Quebec, you can sense the charged atmosphere of competitive table hockey in the late Golden Age.
In the late Golden Age, Lou came into his own as a Classic champion …