The game of Table Hockey was first invented in Toronto by Donald H. Munro Sr. in 1932. This was the depression era and like so many families during that time, funds were short for Christmas presents. The family all contributed with ideas and built the first table hockey game from scrap wood and metal. Coat hanger wire, butcher’s twine, clock springs, and coal lumber were some of the items used to build the first game. The original resembled more of a pinball game, but the difference was two players could participate. The surface of the invention had a peak in the middle sloping down toward each end, while players controlled the levers for goalies and the flippers of the mechanical players. The breakthrough came when a traveling salesman noticed Donald Munro’s invention and suggested he take it down to the local department store in Eaton. The store took the first game on a consignment deal, sold it soon after, and followed that up with orders for more. There have been many types of manufacturers, mainly as each one had a variation in their design. Stigma Games based in Sweden is now the preferred choice in most competitions. The arcade version of table hockey is called dome hockey. To avoid the puck being lost or stolen, a large plastic dome covers the playing surface.
Table hockey is also referred to as rod hockey, bubble hockey or board hockey, and is derived from ice hockey. Most designs resemble a hockey rink and the two players score their goals by hitting a small puck into the opponent’s net. A team’s cutout figures are moved by rods underneath the ‘ice’. Each figure slides forward and back on a narrow slot as a player pulls or pushes the rod. The figure can also be rotated on a vertical axis to shoot or stickhandle the puck. Another version of the game is called Do-To-Ho. Instead of the cutout figures moving along a slot, they are not fastened to anything and slide on a ball bearing. Movement of the figure is created through a short knock with a small stick like in billiards.
The International Table Hockey Federation (ITHF) is the highest recognised authority of the sport of table hockey. The federation was established during the 2005 World Championships in Riga, Latvia. Through ITHF, a unified set of rules were presented specifically for the Stiga Play Off table hockey game. This game also features at official ITHF tournaments. Table hockey is played worldwide and particularly within nations where ice hockey is also a national sport. ITHF oversees a World Tour normally starting in July to the following year in June, ending in the World Championship that features over three days. ITHF has provided the foundation for the sport to continue to develop worldwide.