Calgary Subbuteo club hoping to attract new members

subbuteo2resizedOnce a month, a group of gamers gather in a residential garage in the southeast neighbourhood of Dover to play Subbuteo.

Subbuteo is a form of tabletop soccer with origins dating back to the Second World War, when players would draw a soccer field onto a blanket and flick buttons at a ball in an attempt to score a goal. The game has evolved, with enthusiasts arriving with 5 cm miniature players, soccer balls and nets in hand. The game is popular in Europe, but slowly gaining traction in North America.

subbuteo2Shane Hoopfer (left) prepares his offensive attack on Logan Stevenson (right) who attempts to defend the oncoming shot on net.

Photo by Riad Kadri
As the monthly tournament begins, 38-year-old Shane Hoopfer lines up his three small soccer fields on tables in his garage.

"I was looking for something to do at the time my son, who was 1-year-old and I was thinking down the road I don't want it to be all video games," Hoopfer said.

Hoopfer said he stumbled across Subbuteo while searching for other games to play with his son, but once he tried it, he fell in love with the game.

His new love for the game drove him to revive the local Subbeteo scene.

"The Canadian Subbuteo Table Football Association kind of died off six years ago. To me that was just a frustration — why don't we have this set up?" Hoopfer said.

"So I worked with a few other guys in this country that still play and we worked together to try and rebuild the Canadian association."

Hoopfer now heads the Calgary Subbuteo Club. Membership sits at nine players, with four to five players attending most events.

Ben Herrel is the club's newest member.

Herrel said, "I think there's a good sense of belonging. I'm new, but I'm already getting into it.

"It creates a community there and it's a nice, comfortable thing."

Hi there, I am an ex - pat englishman and have been living in Calgary now for 6 years. I came across your website and it brought back a flood of memories from my childhood.

I used to play several matches a day with my father and literally had hundreds of teams. Sadly, I lost interest as I got older and completely forgot about the game until now.

I was chatting with my father about it over Skype and we were both reminiscing.

I'm 35 years old and literally haven't played since I was 12 or 13. I loved Subbuteo as a kid and as mentioned, had different turfs, teams, balls, stadia etc etc and I think to myself that it was a terrible shame to literally throw that all away in place of video games.

Anyway, I understand you have a club and I would be very interested if you are looking to take on new club members.

I'm a very friendly guy and love a good laugh and am always up for some fun.

Anyway, I appreciate what you do and am thankful.

I hope to hear from you soon. Peter

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