Industry vet Mark Robbins recently sent in a remembrance of the late Al Rodstein. Here’s what he had to say:
“Sometime last summer, I realized I had not spoken to Al Rodstein in several years. Knowing he was getting up in years, I called the Florida number I had for him. Ended up talking to his son who answered the phone; he told me Al, age 104, was resting, but could I call back tomorrow? I said sure.
“The next day I called, and the youthful energetic voice on the other end led me to believe it was Al’s son again answering the phone. But it was Al himself! Sharp, chipper, chuckling… we ended up having an extensive conversation about the industry, and in particular, the air hockey market and how it had changed over the decades. Al asked if I was still running tournaments and I said, yes, but not as many as before. It was amazing to realize that at age 104, Al was still all there and then some.
“Al Rodstein, through his Banner Specialty distributing company in Philly, was a pioneer in the promotion and growth of air hockey in its earliest days. In conjunction with Brunswick, which developed and introduced air hockey to the world, Al organized a series of regional and national air hockey tournaments, starting with a 1973 event in Valley Forge, PA, documented in a short film and featuring Tom Brookshier of football fame doing the announcing.
“Al Rodstein was a gentleman, a class act, and a visionary in the industry. RIP Al.”