An Ann Arbor, Michigan-based company called AirBlade is trying to invent and popularize a new variation on the theme of hockey. AirBlade is basically a combination of air hockey with roller hockey, but played on a tiny rink. It sounds pretty awesome, frankly.
From an MLive.com piece that interviews AirBlade CEO Mark Sendo:
The sport will be played on a rink made of 4-foot-by-8-foot high-density polyethylene boards, with holes one-eighth of an inch wide drilled to allow air flow for the puck to hover on a frictionless surface. When adjusted for a full-size rink, Sendo said there will be more than 2.2 million airflow holes in the floor.
A lot of traditional inline hockey rules will apply, but the major differences with the new sport are in the flooring, the puck – which will resemble an air hockey puck – and the scoring. Traditional goals will count for one point, but like table air hockey, there will be a slot in the back of the net. If the puck passes through that slot the goal is worth two points.
Sendo imagined the concept of this life-size, fully playable air hockey rink in 1999, and has finally assembled a team of designers, architects, builders and partners to make the new sport and 85-by-200-foot rink a reality.
The company has a Kickstarter campaign you can check out, and plan to host tournaments this Spring to raise awareness of the new sport. They're also slated on appear on ABC's Shark Tank program, pitching the idea.
Here are some select photos of the AirBlade setup.
Here's the size of the playing surface (it's not big):
Playing hockey on that would be a lot like human bumper cars...
The surface itself looks like a dimpled air hockey table:
Air will be blown through those holes, oh yes:
This could pretty cool. After all it's just real life air hockey.
[All images courtesy AirBlade via Mlive.com]