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Nickel Hockey

Interactive table top action games are making a big comeback. They are reappearing at homes and at local pubs. Now a local gent by the name of Steven Volpe* has entered the game, by introducing his Nickel Hockey into the mix. I got a chance to ask Steven about his new release, and who was making the game for him. He had some interesting things to say.

Who is builds the game for you?

My custom-made Nickel Hockey boards are handcrafted in Western New York by the Amish. My Amish supplier asked me to never reveal his shop’s name online (due to his religious principles). He wants no mention of his business on the internet.

Why a nickel?

The Amish call it “Penny Hockey.” But since Buffalo is known as the “Nickel City,” I call it “Nickel Hockey.” The official puck: the Buffalo nickel, a five-cent piece struck by the United States Mint from 1913 to 1938.

What’s the action like?

Nickel Hockey is pulse-pounding. Easy to learn, it’s an irresistible ice-breaker, a fun game perfect for brew pubs. You can play it one-on-one while enjoying a quiet beer and bonding over friendly conversation; or, you and a partner can rock the board in a doubles match with rollicking action.

Are there tournaments?

If you set up just four Nickel Hockey boards, you can—with teams of two—compete in a 16-player mini-tournament.

Do any local bars or cafés feature the game?

Mike Caputi, owner of the Daily Planet Coffee Company on Hertel Avenue, loves and supports Nickel Hockey. He asked me to set it up for “Nickel Hockey Tuesday.”

I also brought Nickel Hockey to RiverWorks where it delighted and dazzled both staff and customers.

How does this business play out for Buffalo?

Nickel Hockey could take off here in Buffalo and become a little piece of “Buffalove.” It can become a venerable part of Buffalo culture. I can imagine Nickel Hockey nights at the breweries; I can envision Nickel Hockey leagues and tourneys; I can picture people sporting Nickel Hockey swag and boasting with Buffalo Nickel Hockey pride.

Do you see this taking off?

With creative thinking and positive action, Nickel Hockey can soar—from the sawdust of New York State’s Amish Trail to the bars and breweries of Buffalo. And that could be cool.

How can people get ahold of this game?

I haven’t yet set up a Facebook page. And I don’t have a business plan. I’ve just been playing with possibilities. This Nickel Hockey idea is newly hatched and not well-developed. But I’ve been sporadically field-testing Nickel Hockey in public to see how people respond to it. People love it!

The Nickel Hockey boards, handcrafted and lovely, cost $75. I have a limited supply (10 boards) for sale. (You can’t buy them in stores.) I’m waiting for my Amish artisan complete my order for 10 more boards. Once available, I’ll have those for sale.

What’s next for Nickel Hockey?

A friend of mine, a graphic designer, was working on a logo. But he hasn’t finished it yet. Another friend, magician Garrett Thomas, is a Nickel Hockey supporter. He and I went down to the Amish Trail to buy Nickel Hockey boards.

At this point, Volpe has got a lot of things on his mind, with Nickel Hockey being just one of them. Hopefully Buffalo Rising will be helping to raise funds for Roswell Park Cancer Institute at some point in the future, by promoting an official Nickel Hockey tournament. Stay tuned for more information on that, sometime down the road.

*Volpe is the same guy that brought brought Kubb to Buffalo.

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

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