American Sjoel, LLC is head quartered in Dallas, Texas. Michael Handshy is the owner and founder of the company. He is also the owner of CTS Wood Design – a custom furniture and cabinetry design company established in Dallas in 2007. American Sjoel, LLC designs and oversees fabrication of the American version of Dutch Shuffleboard which is branded as Shool.
Michael, along with his family and friends, discovered Sjoel while traveling throughout Spain in the summer of 2015. They played while visiting friends outside of Barcelona. Michael’s friend, Anna, who grew up in Holland, had just recently brought her family heirloom Sjoelbak board back to Spain from Holland. It was made by her great grandfather more than 100 years ago. Once it was placed in front of the group it was an instant hit. After hours of playing and fierce American competition, the others encouraged Michael to take pictures and measurements of the game board and asked if he could produce it once he got back to the U.S.
As the group traveled throughout Spain, they saw Sjoel in many places and noticed the popularity of it. So, once back from Europe, Michael researched the game and learned of its growing popularity. After a few design ideas, some prototypes and brain storming sessions, Shool was born.
The goal of American Sjoel, LLC is to manufacture a quality Shool board to proudly represent the history of Sjoel , and to also craft each board with beauty and style. The Shool boards can become an heirloom piece for any family in the US.
Michael Handshy is also the founder of the American Sjoel Association, established in 2015.
THE HISTORY OF SJOELEN
In Holland, the game of Sjoelbak or Sjoelen originated around the late 19th century. The game uses a long, uni-directional board approximately 16” wide by 79” long in which the goal is to slide 30 wooden pucks towards the end of the board and try to have them enter through small open gates or arches into numbered scoring alleys. Each player has three consecutive turns to get as many pucks in the scoring boxes.
The game has long been popular in Holland and Belgium. It is also spreading to Germany where it is commonly known as Jakkolo after Jakko Schmidt, who first made the game famous in that country. Hand-crafted Sjoelbak boards are often handed down from generation to generation and family social events will often culminate in a hard-fought game. Sjoelbak is occasionally seen in the USA and in Britain, often at pubs or bars.
Sjoelen (Dutch) is also less commonly known as Dutch Shuffleboard (English) or Jakkolo (German). This dexterity game is particularly popular in the Netherlands, where it originated; hence Sjoelen is the official designation for the game. The World Championships are held every two years, with the most recent event in the Czech Republic (15-16 May, 2015), and the next event planned for France (2017).
HOW TO PLAY
Playing involves each player having three rounds of sliding 30 wooden disks along a 79”-long table in an attempt to get them through four arches numbered one through four at the other end. Getting disks into the low scoring compartments is just as important as the high ones because each set of four disks in the four compartments scores double (20 points instead of 10 points).