Voorheesville has the ‘Animal House of crokinole clubs,’ celebrating the game with a national tournament

— Photo by Alison Brockhouse

Jason Molloy, president of the Extra Pint Crokinole Club, concentrates on his game.

VOORHEESVILLE — A U.S. Open Crokinole Championship has been held in Voorheesville for the last several years.

Never heard of crokinole?

Neither had Jason Molloy till he saw the game played on a YouTube video.

“I thought it was silly … but I was looking for a game that I could pull out and play and then just put away whenever I wanted,” he said.

Molloy bought a board off of eBay and started playing. “I absolutely fell in love with it,” he said.

He told a couple of friends and soon a 12-person league was meeting out of his shed. 

“That’s when our club was born — the Extra Pint Crokinole Club,” said Molloy, the club’s president.

“It’s a dexterity game, a tabletop game that originated in Canada,” he said. “It’s a disc-flicking game with aspects of curling, darts, marbles, and bocce ball.”

He went on, “There’s a simplicity to it. There is a very fast learning curve … When you start as a beginner, you’re just excited to execute your shots the way you want them to go,” he said.

“The beauty of the game is you can set it up real fast and you can take it down real fast. It’s a family game,” he said.

Molloy said that his mother, “who does not like board games at all,” was talked into playing at Christmas time. 

“We bring out the board and she was laughing, screaming, having a ball playing this game because of the simplicity of it. And also, it is the excitement … You don’t even realize how much time has gone by when you’re playing this game. It’s so simple yet it’s so intricate as well,” he said.

“Once you get into the higher levels — our tournament brings out the best players in the world — it becomes like a chess game.” Strategy counts, he said, as well as dexterity.

The Extra Pint Club outgrew the shed at Molloy’s home and now uses the American Legion Hall in Voorheesville as its headquarters. The club held its first U.S. Open in 2019 with 21 teams. Games can involve either two or four players.

The 2020 competition was canceled because of the pandemic but then resumed in 2022 and 2023, when 32 teams competed.

“We sold out within the first few days of registration,” said Molloy.

Canada’s eight-time world championship team has competed in Voorheesville, Molloy said.

The world championship held in Canada, which has a National Crokinole Association, is held in a hockey arena with 800 players, he said.

The Voorheesville tournament is one of just two in the United States — the other is in Buffalo — recognized by the NCA, he said.

The Extra Pint Club has an eight-man committee that works on the many different aspects of organizing the annual tournament. Participants have been given pint glasses and T-shirts.

An all-day preliminary tournament is held at the Legion Hall and then the finals are held at Indian Ladder Farms Cidery and Brewery, one of the tournament sponsors, so the public can attend.

Molloy said the club is looking for sponsors.

Club members pay annual dues of $65 and anyone is welcome to join, said Molloy. “Our club doesn’t make a profit,” he said. “All the money goes into a pool.” The winner of a match will get $4. “It’s nothing crazy,” said Molloy of the payout.

At the end of the regular season, the club has a tournament where the winner gets a trophy as well as some cash, he said.

The essence of the club is the camaraderie. Molloy describes even the U.S. Open as a celebration of the game.

“The tournament is top notch but it’s more a celebration of the community … Everybody interacts with each other and makes relationships and this improves the crokinole experience for everybody.”

Most of the Extra Pint Club members are men although Mallow says “women are absolutely welcome.” His wife, a Voorheesville teacher, does not play. “She’s better at word games,” he said, “but she’s very supportive of me, of all my antics.”

Molloy also said, “Everybody in the competitive scene in the world knows what goes on here.”

Four chapters have stemmed from the Voorheesville club. The Extra Pint Crokinole Club in Houston was founded by his brother, Josh Molloy, who lives in Houston. A club in Dallas was founded by his brother’s brother-in-law, Justin Frerich.

The Extra Pint Crokinole Club in Toledo, Ohio was founded by Travis Keener, who “just came flat out and asked us if he could be part of our club,” said Molloy. The club in Litchfield, New Hampshire was founded by Nick Ozmore, “who came to our first US. Open,” Molloy said.

“They just need to promise to have the same atmosphere and promotion of the game as we do, which is laid back but structured and competitive, if that makes sense. It’s a jovial time… a beer-league type of scene … It’s not stuffy, not too reckless but right in the middle to promote the game of crokinole.”

Molloy said that tournaments in Canada and elsewhere “don’t have the same type of jovial atmosphere. It’s more strictly business … ours is the Animal House of clubs … People really like that because they get to enjoy themselves. We have music playing … the focus is to gather people, to gather the local community.”

Club members come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Molloy himself works as a quality-assurance manager for a produce brokerage company. He inspects and grades the produce to specifications, which he describes as “pretty boring stuff.”

He said, “In our club, we have everybody from laborers to doctors …. Everybody is a fan of the game and it’s just a lot of fun.”

Club members have developed nicknames for each other. “One guy, we call Ice Man because he slipped on some ice leaving the Legion Hall one night. And one guy is called Upset Chet because he got upset one time, not violently upset. … silly stuff like that comes out of the club.”

Molloy’s nickname is Red Herring. “It’s something that’s said to deter the person away from what’s really happening,” he said. It’s a funny name. I just like the name.”

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