By Jamie Lew – The Media HQ
Hockey has always been a game of innovation. From the first indoor skating rinks to the origins of the goalie mask, including the first carbon fiber sticks, hockey has always improved thanks to advancement. Even now, hockey is looking for innovations by multiplying the possible sites for the Winter Classic and by working on advanced monitoring data in partnership with sports betting agencies.
But some innovations go beyond improving the existing sport. Today we’re going to paint a picture of what could be the next big step in the world of hockey. In fact, it’s a whole new approach to the sport itself, known simply as TriHockey.
What is TriHockey?
Imagine that the air hockey table you played with as a child came to life. Imagine that the puck on a hockey rink has no friction and that there were three teams and three nets instead of two. Now imagine a game played on inline skates, with players wearing futuristic Tron uniforms. If you can imagine it all, you have imagined TriHockey.
How it works? It all starts with the creation of a life-size air hockey surface. Technological advances have enabled Mark Sendo, the founder and CEO of TriHockey, and his team to create an entire playing surface designed like an air hockey table. For this reason, the puck does not feel any traction when it slides on the ice.
Three teams of four (a goalkeeper, a defender and two forwards) will compete on this rink in a one-on-one hockey game. They will play on a 120-foot diameter ice rink lined with 12-foot-tall inverted half-pipes, giving TriHockey a unique speed and intensity. Do you think it’s a vision for the future? Sendo explained to hockey writers that it had been one of his dreams for a very long time.
TriHockey is actually an evolution of my initial idea that I envisioned about 22 years ago, of a human-sized field hockey rink. In early 2019, my team and I proposed a circular ice rink concept, with 3 teams, 3 goalkeeper nets and 1 puck played on an air rink. We then worked with brilliant engineers to design and test the entire rink.
Mark Sendo, founder and CEO of TriHockey
The Sendo team is impressive, growing from an army of an army in January 2019 to more than 20 volunteers, mostly unpaid, attached to their common vision. Most recently, TriHockey brought in Ken Hershman, the former president of HBO Sports, to join him as president of the future TriHockey Pro League.
Advantages of TriHockey
Although TriHockey may seem like a distant reality, the team hopes to debut at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex later this year. Hoping for an initial league of six professional teams (reminiscent of the NHL Six), TriHockey may be more accessible than it seems at first glance – especially for local communities.
The prohibitive costs of local ice hockey are no longer a secret. In fact, they have become a major concern for many members of the hockey community. But Sendo believes TriHockey is addressing these issues directly and will allow more children to learn to love the sport.
“To refrigerate an ice rink (standard ice hockey), it’s about $ 40,000 a month,” Sendo told us. “For our skating rinks, it costs $ 20 an hour, and when you don’t play, you turn off the switch. The playing time will cost much less.”
In addition to the lower cost of TriHockey, the pace and accessibility will also be increased.
“Air hockey is such a fast sport,” said Sendo. “There will be little change, if any, in the speed of play. In fact, we think TriHockey could be slightly faster. The advantage is that children can play with sneakers and our pros will use inline skates. “
The future is now
TriHockey may be the hockey of the future. But his future is much closer than we think. They hope to get an opportunity with Disney, although that date has not yet been set. Hockey writers contacted a Disney representative for comment, but were told that company policy prohibits commenting on potential partnerships until contracts are finalized.
Whether the debut arrives in August or takes a little longer, Sendo and his team are ready. While franchise costs are expensive, set at $ 5 million, they already have 7-10 potential franchise owners interested in investing if the sport is successful at Disney. They intend to build with a top-down approach, focusing on building interest in particular communities like any other professional league. More than 2,200 subscribers on their Facebook page are already monitoring the sport and trying to help it develop.
Fast and exciting ice-free hockey may seem impossible. But, again, there was a time when the idea of building a Las Vegas hockey franchise would have been laughable. Hockey has always thrived on transformation. And in TriHockey, he could envision his future.