Paul Logan taught Rink Ratz to The Gaming Edge gamers in Amherst on Sunday
© Dave Mathieson - Amherst Daily News
Shawn Harper (left), one of the owners of The Gaming Edge in Amherst, faces off against Rink Ratz inventor Paul Logan, while (standing, from left) Parker Babineau, Steven Fisher and Jonathan Degraaf follow along with interest.
AMHERST – While growing up in Hastings, Paul Logan played a game called card hockey using a regular deck of playing cards.
“When I was a kid my brother and I would have buddies over and we’d play the whole Stanley Cup playoffs,” said Logan. “We’d be up until three in the morning playing.”
Logan and his wife Sue will be retiring from teaching elementary school in Halifax and Dartmouth at the end of June, and they will work fulltime marketing Rink Ratz, which is a refined version of the game Logan loved as a kid.
“The game we played as a kids just had shots and goals,” said Logan. “But we added rebounds, breakaways, two-on-ones, miraculous saves, shutdown defence, blocked shots, and there’s even a rule where you can pull your goalie at the end of the third period if you’re down by a goal.”
The Logan’s developed Rink Ratz over the last year with friends from Saskatchewan, Dave and Deb MacLean, who are also educators.
“We were there last summer and we came off the golf course and I said to Dave, ‘here’s a game I used to play when I was a kid called card hockey,’” said Logan. “I showed Dave how to play and he said, ‘We can make this a better game.’ That opened a whole can of worms.”
The goal was to make the game as much like real hockey as possible.
“You want the game to be seamless,” said Logan. “When you lay that first card down you want everything to flow with as much beauty and grace as a real hockey game.
“That’s what we were aiming for,” he added. “To have as much realism, and to parallel a real hockey game as much as we could.”
Thirteen-year-old Jonathan Degraaf is a hockey player and he tried the game for the first time on Sunday at The Gaming Edge in Amherst.
“It’s like hockey in your mind,” said Degraaf after he finished beating Shawn Harper, one of the owners of The Gaming Edge. “It’s the concept of hockey and I love hockey. It was fun. I’d play it again.”
Harper had his you-know-what handed to him by Degraaf, but said he had fun playing the game.
“Apparently knowing stuff about hockey gives you an advantage,” said Harper with a laugh. “It’s more fun than I thought it would be because I’m not a hockey fan. This is more entertaining to me than watching hockey.”
The Logan’s and MacLean’s went through 30 edits of the rules and 15 prototype decks before they were satisfied with their invention.
“We made the 15 prototype decks from blank cards and sharpies and we had friends play-test the game for us. They would send it back and we would make changes,” said Logan.
After the game was perfected, they had to find somebody to make the cards.
“Dave and Deb’s son, Scott MacLean, is a graphic artist and he did all the graphics for us on the box and the cards,” said Logan. “Then Dave started to look for somebody who could actually produce the decks for us and give us a finished product.”
They tried to find a company in Canada to produce the finished product but came up empty handed.
“We could find places where one company could make the deck, another company would make the box, and then the box would get sent out to be dyed and cut and sent back,” said Logan. “There were all kinds of issues and it was a mess.”
They settled on a company in Michigan called Delano.
“They do everything under one roof and they did a great job for us. We had 2,200 decks printed.”
The MacLean’s are marketing the cards in Saskatchewan and Logan is marketing the game in the Maritimes.
He says people in the Maritimes recognize the game.
“As we’ve been out in public selling it, people will come up and say they played a similar game as a kid,” said Logan. “It seems people from the Maritimes, especially Newfoundland, understand the game.”
Logan hopes it’s a game all Canadians will come to love.
“It’s the quintessential Canadian stocking stuffer,” said Logan. “It’s $15, it fits in a stocking and it’s hockey.”
Asked if the game will catch on, Degraaf said, “Oh, yeah. All my friends who play hockey will like it.”
Rink Ratz is available at The Gaming Edge on Havelock Street.
More information about Rink Ratz can be found by calling The Gaming Edge at 660-3366 or by going to the Rink Ratz website at www.rinkratzhockey.com.