Pittsburgh's Bubble Hockey Champion to Be Crowned on February 7th

Remember to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for continued Pittsburgh Sports coverage: 

If you're in the PSL world, you have heard of the Panther Bombs.  They have appeared in the Tuesday Night Gardner Field Softball finals five straight seasons.  An unprecedented run.  Their bad boy (and girl) reputation is widely known throughout the city.  However, what you may not know is that the Panther Bombs also have on their roster two of the greatest Super Chexx Bubble Hockey players to ever grace the 412.  

Antonio Wolfe grew up on the sport, with bubble hockey being one of his first memories.  The Wolfes had a bubble hockey machine dating back to their first house on Raven Drive in Scott Township.  At the age of 3, Wolfe was standing on chairs to reach the knobs.  Growing up in a competitive family, he quickly found out what it was like to lose.  Wolfe had an older brother, Dave, that certainly wasn't going to let his younger brother win.  His Dad, also named Dave, would let Antonio get just close enough to a win to bring it to overtime before ending it with a game-winner.  When the Wolfes moved to Rennerdale in 1997, the bubble hockey machine was one of the first items to be moved into the new house.

As Wolfe aged, he began to catch up to his brother, who both quickly surpassed their Dad.  Many a summer day were spent arguing over their many bubble hockey, pool, and ping-pong matchups that took place in the Wolfes' basement.  While brother Dave and Antonio are deadlocked in bubble hockey skill now, they both claim to have never lost to anyone outside of their immediate family.  With Dave now residing in Orlando, Florida, Antonio has self-proclaimed himself the best bubble hockey player in Pittsburgh.

Fellow Panther Bomb, Mike Pontzloff, has also laid claim to the same title.  He didn't start as early as Wolfe, picking up the sport at the age of 21.  Pontzloff first started playing at Hem's, which he considers his home court.  He was so well-known in the establishment that he had his own mug there, but the pandemic has since affected his seniority status.

Pontzloff would often challenge friends or anyone who was standing around the bubble hockey machine.  Give him a $5 Miller Lite pitcher, and some quarters, and Pontzloff would pick up wins all night.  You did not want to be standing around the hockey globe when Pontzloff was there.  He has even appeared in officially sanctioned play, finishing 2nd in the 2013, month-long, tournament at Hems, winning him a Miller Lite t-shirt that he covets to this day.   

The rivalry between the two Panther Bombs began after a friendly match of bubble soccer took place at Coop De Ville before one of their many softball championship appearances.  While Wolfe admits the overtime defeat was fairly won by Pontzloff, he also insists the soccer game is much different than the hockey version.  So it was then the gauntlet was thrown down.

On Tuesday, February 7th, at Shorty's Pins and Pints on the North Shore, a best 2 of 3 series will be played on the bubble hockey machine to decide it all.  While this may just be the first of many series between the two, it will set a precedent for who is the champ and who is the challenger.  It is a matchup that rivals Brady and Manning, Mickelson and Woods, and Federer and Nadal.  

Who will come out victorious?  The grass-roots, basement gamer?  Or the new to the scene, bar hustler?  Be there at 7PM on February 7th, while Pitt destroys Louisville in basketball on one of the many television screens at Shorty's Pins and Pints, to find out.