UH preps to host Air Hockey World Championships


Jacob Weissman, left, and the air hockey club are hoping to see a large amount of student involvement at this year’s World Championships. | Bryce Dodds/The Cougar

While to most people air hockey is just a game, there’s a whole level of competition to it that they may not know about.

The United States Airhockey Association  is set to host the 2015 World Air Hockey Championships at TDECU Stadium, Oct 15-18.

10-time world champion Tim Weissman, the president of the USAA, and Phil Arnold, an alumnus of UH and the founder of USAA, are the two men working hard to get this event to be the biggest and best it can be.

Players from all around the world will be coming to compete for a chance to take home the top prize and a ranking as No. 1 in the world.

“It’s the 40th anniversary of the World Airhockey Association,” said Weissman.  “We wanted to do it up bigger and better than it ever has been before.”

In his time at UH, Arnold fell in love with the sport of air hockey, started the club at UH, which still continues today, and helped to form the USAA.

“It happened immediately when I first played, the first game,” Arnold said. “I realized ‘this is exciting, it’s fun and it’s got potential because it’s so new.’”

Weissman also attended UH and was the leader of the club in his time, using that as a spring-board to success on a world-wide scale from there.

“In 1989, I was 18 years old,”Weissman said. “And then I won every single tournament for five and a half years, that included all the worlds, all the states, all the city championships, basically every major.”

In a new age where arcades are a bit of a dying breed, the fate of air hockey was in doubt for a while, but a new generation of players are helping to continue the trend.

“Phil kept that flame alive,” Weissman said. “They reached out to companies…and that kind of reignited a long-term interest, and because of that, you now have air hockey all over the world.”

One of the people continuing to carry the flame for air hockey is Jacob Weissman, Tim’s son, who is the current president of the club on-campus at UH.

Jacob, Tim and Phil meet with the club every Wednesday night in the SC Game Room, continuing a rich history of the game which started on campus at UH, and are working hard to prepare for the World Championships.

The three of them help teach the newer players techniques to use for a more polished game, which can help them compete on a professional level.

Many of the members of the club found their interests revitalized when they arrived on campus and had a hobby transform into a passion.

“What really got me into it, more than usual, was when I realized there’s a complex system to it,” Kayla Miller, a Human Development and Family Studies sophomore, said. “I didn’t know all the complex rules to all of it.”

Jacob Weissman said that in an effort to get student organizations involved, they’re offering an incentive for participation to see what the world of air hockey is all about.

“We’re offering student organizations $10 donations per player they pre-register for the event,” Weissman said. “We’re trying to get people to see this as more than just a game.”

Beyond just getting students involved, Weissman thinks that this event offers a great opportunity for students to see the world of air hockey in a whole new light.

“We’re trying to get people to come out and see how fun air hockey is and how competitive it can be,” Weissman said. “I’m trying to show the UH community as a whole that competitive air hockey is a competitive thing.”

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