Food & Drink

Alcohockey Is Canada's Best Drinking Game

On December 13, 2013, an Air Hockey table with six Solo cup-sized holes on each side shook the minds of drinking game obsessives. The photo, which was posted on Reddit, depicted “Alcohockey,” or “the Canadian variation of beer pong.” Over the next month, praise from all corners of the internet sprung up. SB Nation called it a “better beer pong,” and the Today Show dubbed it the game that “takes beer pong to the next level.” A New Jersey magazine called The Digest went so far as to call it the “Best Idea We’ve Seen All Week”—on the week before Christmas.

Yet, for all the excitement Alcohockey generated, it left as fast as it came. Which is a shame, because Alcohockey is the best thing to come out of Canada since William Shatner.

Canadians Nate Wawrzonek and Edward Ilnicki are responsible for turning the beloved childhood game of air hockey into a drinking event. It all started with a competition among their friends to see who could get the most likes on the photo sharing website Imgur, according to Today. They won, obviously, but they also they captured the hearts of beer pong playing Americans and strengthened the stereotypes of Canadians as hockey and beer obsessed do-it-yourselfers.

Alcohockey, like all great drinking games, is simple to play. All that’s needed is an air hockey table with six holes in front of each goal, a small puck, two air hockey strikers and, naturally, beer. It’s played like a normal round of air hockey, and when a puck lands in a cup, the defending player drinks. Simply dry off the puck with a towel then repeat until all the cups are made. It’s simple enough to play while drunk, yet complex enough to keep you entertained for hours.

The love for Alcohockey, while widespread, wasn’t universal. In Wired, writer Eric Levenson attempted to take Alcohockey fawning writers down a notch with a story called “Why Alcoholic Air Hockey Isn’t Replacing Beer Pong Anytime Soon.” OK, yeah, beer pong can’t be replaced. His critiques (it’s too hard, it’s a two person game, air hockey is already fun) feel uninspired, but Levenson has a point. Alcohockey will never be widespread, and few people will ever see an Alcohockey table, let alone play a game.

In fact, after all the initial coverage, not many people went out and made their own. If they did, they sure didn’t post about it on Instagram, Twitter, Reddit or any other searchable social media. A now deleted Reddit user commented on a post that their brother had a similar table in 2003 or 2004, but didn’t provide any proof. One of the only other pictures of Alcohockey was posted on Instagram on May 11, 2016, in Finland with the caption (in Finnish) offering to rent the table for 25 euros.

Back in North America, a company tried to take advantage of the Alcohockey name with a commercial version. It made it as far as a plastic mold. On February 11, 2016, the company made its last post on a now defunct Instagram account saying that tables were coming in March 2016. The associated website has since been deleted, and it’s safe to presume that the tables never came.

For the dedicated few, however, there’s still a chance for Alcohockey fun.

How to Make Your Own Alcohockey Table  

The original Alcohockey photo had the casual title: “I am inventor of this. I am drunk. I am Canadian.” The actual construction is less casual and not exactly easy. It takes about two weekends, $200 and an old air hockey table to make, according to a photo explainer posted the month after the initial post.

First, remove the top part of the table. Measure out holes for the cups, and drill with the appropriate sized bit. Repeat on the other side, then line the rough edges with caulk. Drink some beer. Place the top back on the body of the air hockey machine and reassemble. Finally, grab some Molson Canadian and get to playing.