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"Super" Dave Takes Toronto Tourney

William "The Wiz" Bergeron Cracks Top Ten

 
Big Turnout for the NTHL's Season Opener
Toronto, September 24, 2016. The National Table Hockey League's 2016-17 season opened with a bang, as 47 players came from far and wide
to compete. The absence of "King" Carlo Bossio left the "Queen City" crown up for grabs. When all was said and done, local favorite "Super"
Dave Kraehling brought home the "Hogtown" bacon, defeating Sam Anoussis in the finals. Gino Bossio hung on to third over Mark Sokolski, who
had a very strong outing on the day to finish 4th.
 
A-pool winners: Gino Bossio (3rd), Dave Kraehling (1st), Sam Anoussis (2nd)
Dave's road to the title was by no means easy; at times, it was more of a minefield. Seeded #5 going into the playoffs, he prevailed over yours
truly (seeded #4) in the fifth and deciding game of our quarter-final series. Dave then drew Gino Bossio (seeded #2), and their semi-final series
also went the limit, with Dave again winning game five. Kraehling capped his career day with a 4-game victory over Sam Anoussis in the finals.
Had Sam won, he would have tied Carlo for the lead in the overall NTHL standings. But this was Dave's day, and he was not to be denied.

Andre Pigeon won both elimination games to grab 5th spot, while Mike Brossard's strong play got him 6th. Pat Cote had to settle for 7th; yours
truly, for 8th.

A spirited contingent from Ste Sophie caused the biggest buzz during the opening round-robin, as these under-eighteen school kids mowed
down a number of top-seeded adult players, or at least gave them fits. Everyone was impressed by their improvement, and high level of play.
One of their teachers, Caroline Boutet, said she was not surprised: "They practice all the time. They want to play against the best, and continue
improving."  And so they have! Three of them made the adult round of 16: William Bergeron, Dany Lafrenière, and Marc-Antoine Paris
(finishing10th, 12th, and 15th respectively).
 
The Ste Sophie contingent came to play!
In the B playoffs, Vinny Catania swept Julian Marinoff in their semi-final, while young William "The Wiz" Bergeron swept Johnny "Lightning" in
theirs. Vinny defeated William in the B finals, while Julian mercied John to take 3rd. This B playoff final capped a stellar performance by William
Bergeron: the first under-18 player to finish in the adult top-10. He will not be the last. Congratulations, William! And to all your schoolmates
from Ste Sophie.

Honorable mentions go to Shawn Redmond (14th) and Chris George (16th), whose strong play rounded out the top 16 on the day. This event
also marked the return of Diana Tarsitano who, along with Shawn, had been on parental leave, bringing a future table hockey great into the
world.
 
B-Pool winners: Julian Marinoff (3rd), William "The Wiz" Bergeron (2nd), Vinny Catania (1st)
But the competition hardly ended there. Eric Paris took home another medal for Ste Sophie, winning the C-pool final against local Matthew
George (brother of Chris). Bernie Kunzler of Waterloo, a strong multi-board player, took 3rd in C.
 
C-Pool winners: Bernie Kunzler (3rd), Eric Paris (1st), Matthew George (2nd)
Bob D'Addario prevailed in the D-pool, adding to the New York medal-count and earning a birthday present, while two more gamers from Ste
Sophie, namely Jeremy Dumas and Samuel Montreuil, took home 2nd and 3rd.
 
Maxime Neault, Jeremy Dumas, and Samuel Montreuil celebrate medals
The E- and F-pools were contested by yet more Ste Sophie players: Daphnee Beaulieu (1E), Justin Baril (2E) and Ariane Mercier (3E), and
Gabriel Constantin (1F), Oceanne Laprise (2F) and Beny Spencieri (3F) snapped up the remaining hardware.
 
Daphnee Beaulieu wins a door prize
Thanks to Dave Kraehling and Mark Sokolski for organizing a splendid event, and to Eugene Kurtz for a great job with the stats. Mark had
secured an ideal venue: a spacious, sunny, and well-lit lounge in St. Michael's College (his alma mater). This was an outstanding debut to the
2016-17 NTHL season, and the big winner was the sport we all love: classic table hockey.

story: Lou Marinoff
pics: John Fayolle

Table Hockey Back on Broadway!

Stan Fischler and "Burger" King Carlo Top Marquee

New York, NY, October 15, 2016

 
players from NY, NJ, Los Angeles, Montreal, and Ste Sophie
After an absence of forty years since the WTHA Munro tourneys in the old Statler Hilton, table hockey returned to mid-town Manhattan. And it
was a hit! The fifth annual SoHo Cup Tournament, organized by John Fayolle, was held at the Novotel Hotel, overlooking Times Square. Twenty
three spirited players from Canada and the US battled on the boards above Broadway.
 
Running the table hockey gauntlet: Moussa and Bob re-fight the Punic Wars
First, we ran a gauntlet of eleven boards, and back again, in a no-holds barred 3-hour plus round-robin.
 
Running the gauntlet, round-trip: Ed Power stands tall
Following that, we recovered at a delicious buffet-style lunch on the forward deck of the mezannine, overlooking Times Square under an Indian
summer sun. Then it was time for  the playoffs.
 
A gourmet lunch with a view
When the star-dust had settled over Broadway, along with a few pucks launched over the edge of the Novotel's deck, King Carlo Bossio claimed
the title over runner-up Sam Anoussis, while a game Andre Pigeon took home third to complete the Montreal sweep.
 
The champions: Sam Anoussis (2), Carlo Bossio (1), Andre Pigeon (3)
Carlo had narrowly avoided losing to Andre in their semi-final series. With Andre ahead 2-1 in games and leading 6-4 in game #4, it looked like
he might dethrone the King. Sam was definitely rooting for Andre. Sam had swept yours truly in the other semi-final, and was hoping to play
"ABC" in the final: that is, Anybody But Carlo!

Carlo makes a habit of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, and he so came back to tie Andre, win game #4 in OT, and take game 5. In the
final -- just as amazingly -- he swept Sam 3 games to none. Sam had scorched the entire field that day, excepting Carlo, who was flame-proof. I
caught a whiff of bronze against Andre, winning game #1 and going to OT in game #2, but Andre scored the decisive goal then won game #3 to
join Carlo and Sam on the marquee.

Notwithstanding all the fire-power in the house, Carlo lost a grand total of only 3 games the entire day -- 2 to Andre and 1 to yours truly -- which
seemed only to spur him on. I asked Carlo how he had managed yet another Houdini-like escape, this time against Andre. "I have no idea how I
do it but I seem to do it time and time again" he said. Nobody can dispute that. He's been doing it for almost a decade!
 
Stan Fischler -- about whom more below -- drops the puck to start the final series: Sam versus Carlo
Strong performances by Michael Brossard (5th), Vinny Catania (6th), John Fayolle (7th) and Julian Marinoff (8th) rounded out the top 8. Julian
broke into the top 8 by surviving an epic 5-game battle, against NYTHL gladiator Bob "Bitcoin" D'Addario. 

Competition in the B-pool was no less ferocious, and was dominated by New York Table Hockey League (NYTHL) veterans. John Power (9th)
defeated Len "The Mechanism" Mecca (10th) in the B-finals, and Moussa "The Cleaver" Chermiti (11th) played well all day to take 3rd in B.
 
NYTHL sweeps B-Pool: Moussa Chermiti (3), John Power (1), Len Mecca (2)
Matt Meinzer (12th) just back from Ecuador, A.J. Sarma (13th) in from L.A., Bob D'Addario from Long Island (14th), along with Tommy Leclerc
(15th) and Vincent Soulard (16th), both from Ste Sophie, completed the top 16.

The C-pool was strongly contested as well. Dany Lafrenière from Ste Sophie (17th) prevailed over Larry Durham from south Jersey (18th), adding
to the hardware Dany won last month in Toronto. Ashley Perrault (19th) of Montreal defeated NY veteran Ed Power (20th) to take home 3rd in C,
becoming the first female player ever to medal in the five annual New York events to date. Well done Ashley!
 
C-Pool Winners: Larry Durham (2), Dany Lafrenière (1), Ashley Perreault (3)
Marie-Hélène Boutet (21st) and Caroline Boutet (22nd) are devoted teachers from Ste Sophie. They spearhead the school's table hockey
program, and visited New York for the first time along with their contingent of enthusiastic and talented young players. Greg Boyd (23rd) played
in his very first NTHL event, ascended a steep learning curve, and showed poise and sportsmanship all day.
 
The contingent from Ste Sophie -- their first visit to The Big Apple
Friends, relations, and curious hotel guests dropped by to catch the action. But the celebrity guest of the day was Stan Fischler, legendary
hockey maven and commentator for the NY Islanders and NJ Devils. Less well-known, perhaps, is Stan's love of table hockey, and his
appearance in a classic video from 1971. Forty-five years ago, he was filmed at a table hockey tournament held at the landmark George
Washington Hotel on Lexington Avenue. The building was occupied by famous writers, musicians, and poets -- as well as table hockey players!
 
Matt Meinzer and Vincent Soulard  demonstrate great sportsmanship
Stan was so delighted to witness the high caliber of NTHL play and sportsmanship, in tandem with the quality of the SOHO boards built by
John, that he will shoot a forthcoming NYTHL date for his "Brooklyn Beat" series. Table hockey was a hit on Broadway, so the next stop is TV.
Everyone at the event deserves credit for this success.

On the heels of this season's NY tournament -- the 5th in a row -- a big thanks to organizer John Fayolle for providing a perfect venue: location,
food, and ambience all superb. Thanks also to Vinny, for tracking the stats, and to both these New Yorkers for getting Stan Fischler onside.
 
Stan Fischler poses with the finalists: table hockey is the big winner
Congrats again to all who participated, and especially to Carlo for his victory. One of the hotel guests -- undoubtedly a tourist -- happened to
spot Carlo wearing his crown, and asked "Is he the Burger King?" Wherever he goes, Carlo is the King of Coleco table hockey. But on
Broadway, he's also the Burger King. Maybe that's a good omen: one fine day, we'll see a table hockey board in every Burger King.

Meanwhile the next gauntlet of boards will be run in scenic Ste Adele, on November 5, as this 2016-17 NTHL season heats up. Join the action.

story: Lou Marinoff
pics: John Fayolle

Sainte-Adèle Tournament

November 5th, 2016

 
20 players entered the first edition of the Ste-Adèle tournament last November 5th. Organized by Gabriel Saad in the heart of the Laurentians
in a marvelous location, Place des Citoyens at 999 Boulevard de Sainte-Adèle

"King Carlo" immediately took charge of the tournament using the winning formula for the preliminary round of "John Lightning Fayolle" at the
recent New York Times Square tournament: a shot gun start where each player plays 19 games one after the other by moving to his left after
every 5 minutes “no stopping time” game. The formula is well appreciated by many! Pat Coté dominated all his opponents with strong
performances of Sam, Carlo and André. For the playoffs the first 16 ranked the A's and B's to establish the 2/3 elimination series

Some exciting series! The excellent game of Angelo Follano who beat Gabriel "The Pharaoh" Saad with a 5th and decisive match win. Vinny
Cantania has for a second tournament in a row hit a wall against "La Classe" Brossard. In the other series, Pat C., Sam A., Carlo B., Andre P.,
Michael D. and Martin D. all reached the 1/4 finals of the A. The losers joined the others in section B.

Final round of "A"

The Quarterfinals saw a total and expeditious dominance of Pat C. in three on Martin D., an honorable resistance of Angelo F. to the "King"
Carlo as well as Michel D. in front of "The Slickster" Sam A. who each bowed in 4 games. Finally, André "Boston" Pigeon had to use a football
conversion of "60 yards" to foil a tenacious Michael "The Class" Brossard.

The semi-finals found André "Boston" Pigeon versus "King" Carlo and Sam "The Slickster" Anousis versus Pat "The Phenom". André "Boston"
Pigeon who scared the "King" in New York collapsed and "King" Carlo eliminated him in three games! Sam "The Slickster" Anousis versus Pat
"The Phenom" won a hard fought series in 5 games and in the end in overtime with a super lightning speed goal!

In the grand final, "King" Carlo won 3 games to 1! The last game in overtime and the "King" prevails once again… over his eternal rival Sam! Pat
"The Phenom" Coté dominated in a 2/3 series against André "Boston" Pigeon and takes the 3rd rank, André finishes honorably in the 4th rank.
In the ranking matches the surprising and very talented Angelo Follano takes the 5th position. The Decarie machine, 6th followed by Douville,
7th and Brossard, 8th.
 
Final round of "B"

Thierri "the huskie" Douville ended up in semi-final against our favorite New York policeman, none other than Vinny "The Islanders" Cantania!
The latter reached the final and at the limit of the three games with a gain of 6-4. Meanwhile Julian Marinoff defeated Peter Anousis to reach the
final.

In grand finale Julian got his hands on the B championship by defeating Vinny in two consecutive games, while Thierri won the bronze with a
win over Peter Anoussis.
 
Let us note all the energy and smiles of our young aspirants like Marie-Lou, the best rookie of the tournament! Bravo for the beautiful Marie-
Lou!

The young Esteban "El Chico" Rodriguez won the prize of the most improved player. Congratulations Esteban!

Let us not forget that our succession adds a special dimension to our sport!

Thank you Gabriel for this, your first tournament! Thank you Carlo who organized the rounds and provided games and pucks. A big thank you to
our friend Vinny Cantania who provided several games, and a special thanks to John Fayolle for his games! Thanks also to the others who
provided a game. It is this type of collaboration and passion from all that makes the success of our sport!

The next appointment is the Ste-Sophie Open December 3rd!

Author: Michael "The Class" Brossard
 

Carlo Three-Peats in Ste Sophie

Takes Big Lead at Mid-Season

Ste Sophie, Quebec, December 3, 2016

 
Great Turnout at Ste Sophie -- Adults, Youths, and Kids
A season-high 53 players faced off in Ste Sophie, and once again Carlo Bossio was the last man standing. After missing the NTHL season
opener in Toronto, the King has rattled off three tournament wins in a row: New York, Ste Adele, and now Ste Sophie. With the NTHL at mid-
season, Carlo takes a commanding lead into the second half.

Carlo's road to the Ste Sophie title was not entirely smooth. Fighting his way from #3 seed, trailing Andre and Pat, the King mowed me down in
straight games in our quarterfinal, more than avenging his loss to me in the round-robin.
 
A-Division winners: Andre Pigeon (2nd), Carlo Bossio (1st), Pat Cote (3rd)
flanked by organizers Marc Bénard, Caroline Boutet
Meanwhile Burt Brassard upset Sam Anoussis in their quarter final, in a thrilling 5-game series, earning the right to meet Andre Pigeon in the
semi-finals. Burt ran out of gas against the indomitable Pigeon, who then awaited the victor in the other semi-final, featuring Carlo versus Pat.

The Carlo-Pat series was the season's best thus far, as Paco stretched the King to a 5th game overtime. Both players are lethal in OT, more
often than not scoring on their first possession. But this contest went on for much longer: each player blasting deadly shots in turn, only to be
rebuffed by impenetrable defenses.

Finally, Pat launched a high-tip labeled for the short side, but Carlo somehow kicked it out. The rebound landed on the King's left defense, and
he banked it into Pat's net to end the series.
 
Sam refs finals action: Andre versus Carlo
Following yet another Houdini-like escape from defeat at Pat's hands, Carlo took down Andre in four games to claim the title. Pat overcame Burt
to take bronze.

As usual, the competition was spirited at every table, adults and children alike. The new ranking system, which awards 5 bonus points per top 8
player in attendance, (to a maximum of 25 bonus points), has made the standings more competitive, and volatile, for
most players.

With potentially more points to gain, and also to lose, we are seeing more players popping in and out of the top-10. It makes the competition
that much more exciting, and head-to-head contests more meaningful, as players jockey for positioning.

The B-pool illustrated this well. It was won by Angelo Follano, a highly talented player making his comeback after an absence from the game,
and rapidly adjusting to the power and speed of the SoHo boards. Expect Angelo to climb in the rankings. He defeated Vinny Catania in the B-
final, while Thierri Douville took third. Both Vinny and Thierri deserve special mention as well.
 
B-Division Winners: Thierri Douville (3rd), Vinny Catania (2nd), Angelo Follano (1st)
Congratulations to Vinny Catania, whose consistently improved play and regular attendance have elevated him into 10th place overall: the first
time the NTHL has seen two Americans -- both New Yorkers -- in the top 10. And he did it with a torn rotator! We wish Vinny a speedy recovery
from his recent surgery.

Congratulations as well to Thierri Douville, and not only for placing 3rd in B. In the process he eliminated his dad Martin in the round of 16. Thierri
also placed 2nd in the Young Adults section, behind Tommy Leclerc (1st) and ahead of Simon Decarie (3rd). Overall, Thierri leads the Youth
Division. These youths represent the future champions of table hockey, and they are growing stronger year by year.
 
Youth Division Winners: Simon Decarie (3rd), Tommy Leclerc (1st), Thierri Douville (2nd)
Ste Sophie itself remains the model for organized table hockey in schools. Their number of players -- girls and boys alike -- is growing, and so
are their abilities. Congratulations to the winners in the children's A division: Sheldon Boivin Grenier (1st), Maxime Neault (2nd) and Justin Baril
(3rd).
 
Children's A-Division winners:
Maxime Neault (2nd), Sheldon Boivin Grenier (1st), Justin Baril (3rd)
Congrats also to the winners in the children's B-division: David Bergeron (1st), Louis Philippe Fréchette (2nd), and Mathys Beaudet (3rd). The
future of table hockey is here!
 
Children's B-Division Winners:
Mathys Beaudet (3rd), David Bergeron (1st) Louis Philippe Fréchette (2nd)
 
Ste Sophie students enjoying the game, the sport, and the day
Finally, a large thanks to the organizers in Ste Sophie, Caroline and Marie-Hélène Boutet, along with Marc Bénard. It is always a pleasure to
attend their events. They have done a tremendous job introducing classic table hockey into their school and into the lives of their students, who
are obviously benefiting from the experience. And so is our sport!
 
Ste Sophie de Lévrard, Quebec: Table Hockey Hotbed
The NTHL wishes everyone a happy holiday season. The action resumes in Rosemont on January 28th, 2017. Expect it to be fast, and furious.

story: Lou Marinoff
photos: John Fayolle

Rosemont Open V

 
Huge success at the 5 th Rosemont Open!

There has a lot to say about this BIG tournament, but in the first place I would like to thank all those who contributed to the success of the
tournament: King Carlo, John Fayolle, André Pigeon, Michael Brossard, Burt Brassard. All provided games, many thanks! Jean-Claude Godon
who organized the Gameroom section, Chantal Vaillant which was our statitician, Émilie Therrien who helped and my old chum Nicolas Forget
who also gave a hand in the Gameroom section and also in helpingut in the beginner’s section, and of course each of the 60 participants! And a
special thank you to John Fayolle which graciously donated to my Rosemont league a game of the coyotes Coliseum (!). A high quality game of
a value of way more than $500!

The players were grouped into five categories, either Gameroom, Beginner, Intermediate and Elite. In the Gameroom section, which was played
on old 4-foot-long COLECO games it is the VETERAN Jacques Richer who won the honors Before Daniel Rock(2 nd ) and Claude Laflamme (3
rd ).

Among beginners Marilou Douville demonstrated a beautiful progression in winning the honors ahead of another young hope, Esteban Rodriguez.
Jeremy Coté, son of top Elite player Patrick, showed beautiful skills and seized the 3rd position. This section, so critical for the future of our
sport, had 12 players.

In the Intermediate section, the atmosphere was electric and all games extremely intense, the shouts of joy resonated in the entire hall at each
important goal. Gino Lévesque took it to the limit of 5 games against Joe Follano, whereas François Bernier needed an Overtime goal in the
decisive game in order to defeat the talented Dany Lafrenière.

The Elite section elite grouped 26 extremely powerful and talented players form all over North America. Several star players accustomed to the
top 16 had to settle for the Elite B section after the first round. In the Elite B section Vinny Catania of New York again entered his name on the
B Cup in beating Martin Douville (ME!!) in 5 hard fought games. After a first pitiful round, yours truly, thought that Retirement seemed near,
however after winning a fine & honorable series against the ever dangerous and tenacious Michel Goupil and surprising Sergio Angelillo in 3
consecutive games my career is far from over! Sergio never gave up and rebounded in winning the series for the 3 rd place in the Elite B
section.

In Elite A several new entrants made the cut, the young Tommy Leclerc, a strong player with great potential reached the Top 16, he also earned
the title of “Most Improved Player of the tournament”! Gabriel Saad won the title of “Surprise” of the tournament, it has ended up 10 th beating
the veteran champion from Quebec City, Burt Brassard in two consecutive games! Teenager Thierri Douville won the title of “Performance out of
the ordinary”, in fact his performance was nothing less than exceptional! In the Elite A pool he pushed the great Éric Larochelle to the limit of 5
games and then in the consolation rounds for positioning defeated blow to blow in six consecutive games three very strong players: Michael
Brossard - Lou Marinoff and Gabriel Saad! A very well deserved 9 th place and #1 of the Elite A consolation rounds.

The Top 8 Elite A 3 out 5 series pitted excellent players like Michel Décarie, who despite a first win was eliminated in 4 games by the great Pat
Coté, then missing some motivation afterwards ended up in 8 th place overall. The talented Angelo Follano pushed one of the top 5 players in
North America, André "Boston" Pigeon to the limit of 5 games, and finally finished 6 th just in front of Alex Asnousis who finished 7th. Finally
Éric Larochelle was not able to overcome Sam "the Slickster" Asnousis in 1/4-final, however he did beat his buddy the “Machine” Décarie and
won his friendly bet of 5$ and finished a strong 5 th overall The semi-finals of the Elite A grouped the regular top 4 beat players and André
Pigeon overcame Sam Anoussis for the bronze and 3 rd place overall, Sam finishing 4th, “King” Carlo after a first game defeat (as usual for him)
then swept through the following three games against Pat Coté for another 1 st place.

Beyond the results the biggest success of the tournament is the enormous joy that one could read on almost every face. The enthusiastic
passion of the players was at its contagious!

See you soon for the 6 th Rosemont Open in January 2018! In the meantime the next tournament is the Quebec Open XVII in three weeks,
hoping to see you there in large numbers!

by: Martin Douville
translated: Michael Brossard
 
 
 
 
 


Carlo Wins Five in a Row

Epic Battles on the Table at Quebec City Classic



Quebec City, February 18, 2017.

This 2017 marked Burt Brassard's 17th version of his Quebec Classic, and this year's edition saw battles of epic proportions being waged at the
tables. The action was fast and furious from the opening face off until the final goal, many hours and contests later. Another 17 to reckon with is
this: there were around 17 players of top-ten caliber among  a very strong field of 28, including the increasingly proficient pack of dangerous
youths. And once again a contingent of children came to play, and had serious fun.

Fast-forward to the finals, where Carlo prevailed over Pat in four games, claiming his fifth consecutive NTHL tourney win this season, and leaving
no shred of doubt as to who will wear the classic crown for an unprecedented tenth consecutive season.
 
A-pool champions: Pat (2), Carlo (1), Sam (3)
Yet the road to that final series was hotly contested, so that even the King was keeping his eye on a number of would-be contenders, in case
any of them got on a roll. With so many strong players in the house, some were bound to. Every game was important from the get-go, as only
the top 5 from each pool of 13 or 14 in the opening round-robin would make it to the A-pool.

From one round-robin, those five were Angelo, Carlo, Sam, Eric, and yours truly. From the other, it was Andre, Burt, Pat, Peter, and Simon.
Bravo to Peter Anoussis for his much improved play, and bravissimo to Simon Decarie (still under 18) for playing his way into this mix! Honorable
mention to John Fayolle, who also played a strong round and just missed the cut by a point.

As he has done so many times, Pat "le phenomen" obliterated the A-pool, losing just one game, with Carlo close behind. After that pair -- an
omen of the finals -- it was more of a Pier 6 brawl, with everyone giving and getting lumps. I escaped with a 4-5 record, good enough for #5 seed
behind Andre, Sam, Carlo and Pat. Angelo, Burt and Eric remained  close, while Peter and Simon got clinics in A-pool carnage.

The next ten players -- including yet more top-10 talents like Michael Brossard and Michel Decarie -- would wage their own round-robin war, with
the best six moving up to the round of sixteen. Five of them -- Denis, John, Julian, Michel, and Thierri -- soon paid the price of their promotion, as
they fell prey to the top A-seeds. The noteworthy exception was Michael, seeded #12 and therefore slated to play #5 -- yours truly. Seeding
means little; playoffs are about match-ups. Mike is a top-10 player, and has also become my nemesis of late. With an all-star goalie (as
always), a tenacious defense, and a better scoring touch today than thirty-five years ago, Mike prevailed in 5 games, deservedly making the
quarter finals. Like good wine, he is mellowing with age.

But in the quarters, Michael ran out of gas while Pat was hitting his stride, and le phenomen swept la classe in three straight. Rampaging Sam
similarly swept Burt, although Burt played a strong tournament overall, especially considering that he was also the organizer. Carlo dispatched
Eric in four games. But Andre had met his match in Angelo. Andre himself has vaulted into the upper echelon of the NTHL, and was ranked #2
going into Quebec. Angelo has returned to the game more recently, and is a mighty talent on the rise. Their thrilling quarter final went five games
and beyond, into overtime, where Angelo stung Andre with a right-wing pico, thus moving into the final four for the first time since his comeback.
He'll be there again before long, no doubt.

The semis, however, proved no contest on this day. Angelo was swept by Pat before he knew what hit him, while Carlo found that extra gear that
all champions have in their transmissions, and dismissed Sam in three straight as well. Disgruntled but not disarmed, Sam defeated Angelo in
two straight games to take bronze, so Angelo had to settle for fourth. Combined with his 5th place in Ste Adele and 6th in Rosemont, Angelo
now moves into 6th place overall, and is aiming higher.

That set up the final series, between Carlo and Pat. Carlo was in fine form, winning the first two games. But Pat refused to be swept, and fought
back to win game three.  Game four went into overtime, so Pat was just a goal away from forcing game five, where anything can happen. Pat has
the highest-octane offense in the league, but time and again Carlo shuts him down in critical situations. He did it this time too, scoring in OT to
win the series 3-1.

As mentioned earlier, this marked Carlo's fifth consecutive NTHL victory, which would be a record if not for the King himself. Going back to the
2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons, Carlo reeled off five straight in 2013-14, skipped Chicago, then won three more on the trot in 2014.  That made
eight straight victories in eight tournaments played, an absolutely amazing feat. Now he's at it again, looking to equal if not surpass his own
record.

The NTHL is a star-studded league to be sure, but Carlo is in a class by himself. The only player who can really challenge him at this point, and
spur him on to greater heights, is Carlo himelf. The greatest Coleco classic player of all time, the King is really an Emperor.

Yet even in the more mundane parts of the empire, such as the B-pool, events proved interesting in Quebec. For the first time in NTHL history,
two father-son pairs vied for the B honors. Michel had to play Simon in one semi-final, while yours truly had to play Julian in the other. Both
series went three games, as the sons were keen to supplant their fathers. But this time age trumped youth. Michel scored in game three OT to
defeat a determined Simon, and Julian pushed me to the limit before succumbing in our deciding game. Nonplussed, Julian rebounded by
beating Simon to win the B bronze, while I prevailed over Michel to take B gold. This may be the first time that a father-son pair shared an NTHL
podium, and it gave me a whiff of the pride that Gordie Howe must have felt, playing on the Whalers with his sons.
 
B-pool winners: Michel (2), Lou (1), Julian (3)
The C-pool was no less competitive, and the winners on this day were Tommy Leclerc (1), Alain Pelletier (2), and Marc Paquet (3). Tommy is
one of several avid young players from Ste Sophie, and one of the most improved this year.

The youth division features several budding players who are now competitive with the adults. On this day the top three youths were Simon
Décarie (1), Thierri Douville (2), and Tommy Leclerc (3).
   
Burt congratulates Tommy (1st in C-pool) and Alain (2nd in C-pool)
The Quebec tournament also included a children's division, and these kids are a real credit to the sport. They are the future of table hockey, and
it's great to see them developing their skills while having so much fun. Congratulations to the winning children in Quebec: William Dumas,
Zachary Côté, and Jérémy Dumas. Zachary is the latest Côté to enter the fray, joining his dad Pat and uncle Francois: a formidable table hockey
family.
 
child champs: Zachary Côté (2), William Dumas (1), Jérémy Dumas (3)
The NTHL also has several talented female players, including Diana Tarsitano (currently a new mother), Caroline and Marie-Hélène Boutet
(teachers and sisters from Ste Sophie), and Ashley Perrault (the first woman to win a medal in New York). After a strong performance in the C-
pool in Quebec, Ashley moves into a narrow lead for the top female spot, just ahead of the Boutet sisters.

Finally, a big thanks to Burt Brassard and his family, for running another fine tournament.  Burt's wife Rolande Suppiger and their daughter
Marjorie Brassard helped with every aspect of the organization, and were charming hostesses to all the players and guests.
 
Rolande Suppiger, champion of hospitality!
NTHL action shifts to Detroit on March 24-25, for Eric Krol's annual Coleco-Stiga double-header. See you at the table!

story: Lou Marinoff
photos: Rolande Suppiger & Marjorie Brassard

Detroit

Story coming soon.