Bubble Soccer Halifax made its Maritime debut this weekend in the gym of Armbrae Academy. Fourteen teams suited up for a tournament that went all day Saturday.
The sound of squeaking sneakers and laughter filled the gym, along with the occasional thud of a teammate and their bubble bouncing off the ground.
Groups of 10 signed up for 40 minute games throughout the day. The groups were then split into two teams and each player squeezed into their respective bubble and began a bouncy game of indoor soccer.
Colleen Armstrong gathered a team of friends to play at the inaugural event. By the end of the second half, all players were sweaty and carefree.
“It was so much fun,” said Armstrong. “The best part is the first time you get hit. You just go flying through the air, and then you realize you’re not going to get hurt.”
“Well, not too badly,” added Dana Hodgins another player on Armstrong’s team.
Players ran around the gym bouncing off each other and the walls, stopping every once in a while for fresh air and rest.
Patrick Toupin — the man behind the bubbles — had seen videos on the Internet of people playing bubble soccer. Being a soccer player his whole life, he wanted a chance to play.
“It just seemed like a good fit for me,” said Toupin.
When he discovered there was nowhere in the Maritimes to play, he started researching different products. Last month he bought his own fleet of bubbles and started the small business: Bubble Soccer Halifax.
Toupin decided to start the business to compensate for the cost of the bubbles, which are $400 each. “If I can spread the game and maybe make a little on the side that would be great,” he said.
Marianne Parent, Toupin’s girlfriend, was unsure of the idea at first but let him run with it. “We’ll see how it goes,” she said. “So far I’m really impressed.”
Toupin’s background in engineering led him to research and buy the best quality bubbles for his small business. He could tell that the product was new because of the “material science behind it.” He said that “for it to be strong and clear and also not smell makes a big difference.”
Even though the bubbles were clear plastic, Tim Tanner, another player on Armstrong’s team, still had difficulty seeing. However, he said that reduced visibility added to the fun.
“You’re kind of like a deer in headlights, but then you just get hit and bounce back,” said Tanner.
Toupin hopes to start up a summer league and rent out the bubbles for birthday parties and events.
As word of this new sport spreads, Bubble Soccer Halifax’s website and Facebook page remain the place to stay up to date on upcoming events.