CLARENCE, NY - It was a special moment for the players who pulled off the miracle...
And while it was all happening there, back here in WNY, a U.B. Law student named Ralph Cappola and his friends were replaying the moments on their own table-top mechanical hockey games. They were so into it they even formed a table-top hockey league. That league led to a brain storm.The idea? turning this home game into a coin-operated gold mine.
They made a prototype of the Chexx Hockey Machine, and took it to a trade show in Chicago.
"everyone's looking at it saying what the heck is this, it's not a video game" Says Coppola, "well it was a phenomenon, the first year we sold 5,000 machines."
10 Million dollars worth! not bad for a start up. "Our little tag line that went along with Chexx was relive the miracle on ice. "
And for the first few years, the money machine was firing on all cylinders.Then in the late 80's the market dropped out as home video games took hold. It hit ICE hard, because they only had the one game. "We really did have to struggle, it was hard."
They then worked hard to diversify, and set a goal of developing one new game a year. Their second hit was a basketball game called Full-Court Frenzy. In the mid 90's ICE (Innovative Concepts in Entertainment) came out with their most popular game ever to that point, Cyclone, where the light went around in a circle and you had to hit it to stop the light. Cyclone was a world-wide phenomenon.
The games and the business built, by hand here in Clarence. ICE has grown into a business that generates 400 jobs and has become an industry leading producer of sports games for the home, arcade and office.
© 2017 WGRZ-TV