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'Forgot how fun this was': Winnipeg man competing in World Pinball Championship

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A Winnipeg pinball wizard is heading to the granddaddy of them all – the IFPA World Pinball Championship.

Drew Sych qualified for the tournament after a dominating performance in the IFPA Provincial Championship Series in January.

“It’s in Murietta, California at an operator’s residence,” Sych told CTV Morning Live, “He’s got a giant warehouse with a hundred pinball machines and some pretty rare ones. So it’s going to be very different.”

Around 80 players from across the globe compete in the annual tournament. Sych is one of four Canadians playing and will be joined by Winnipeg’s Jack Tadman, who qualified for the event in Toronto.

Sych started racking up high scores at a convenience store in The Maples when he was 19.

“I’d go play with a friend from work and I just fell in love with it,” Sych said.

Unfortunately, Sych said the store closed and his pinball dreams were put on hold.

A few years later, he fixed a broken pinball machine his parents had owned – and his love of the game was renewed.

“I started playing again and I was like, ‘man, this is fun! Like, I forgot how fun this is!’”

He got involved with the Manitoba Pinball League (MPL) and said the hobby just, “blew up from there.”

But Sych didn’t stop at simply tallying high scores and capturing tournament wins – he started buying more machines.

“It’s like an addiction,” Sych explained. “You’re looking for deals on Kijiji, you’re trying to find them cheap and you fix them up. That’s one of my favourite parts. I love working on pinball machines.”

He’s amassed a collection of about 40 machines and hosts local tournaments at his “Iceberg Arcade” including the Manitoba Pinball Championships this past weekend.

Sych is now turning his attention to the World Championships by studying the different games he’ll be competing on. His training includes watching videos, reading rule books, and of course, hands-on practising.

“I’m going to try to work on my accuracy, work on my control, and you know, just play the best I can.”

The 19th annual IFPA World Pinball Championship is slated for June 7-9.

- With files from CTV’s Rachel Lagace

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