Floor Play

Getting inside the society built for the modern sport junkie

ball Floor Floorball Nordic Scandinavia Sean Yallop sport ucl UCLU

At the Welcome Fair earlier this year, the main worry about our pitch to the UCL student body was how to go about explaining what floorball was. We had still not decided how to best sum up our beloved sport to the masses when the day arrived.

Various ways we pitched our sport included ‘it’s like ice-hockey, but without the ice’, or ‘it’s like hockey, but better’, or the longer, drawn out and just plain boring official description; but none of these seemed to stir wonder and amazement in your minds.

Floorball is a relatively new sport which gained popularity in the Scandinavian countries in the 1970s. Now the sport is most popular in the wider Nordic countries as well as the Czech Republic and Switzerland and is rapidly growing in the United States, Singapore and here in the UK. There are now 55 participating countries in the International Floorball Federation which organises tournaments, cups and oversees various national leagues – probably the biggest indicator of this sport’s growing appeal.

Usually in training, the club plays 3 to 4 a side plus a goalkeeper, the aim being to work as a team to pass the ball around in order to score and defend against goals. One comment that was all too frequent at the Welcome Fair was ‘isn’t floorball, or however you pronounce it, the same as hockey?’

Yes, the rules sound very similar but floorball is a faster-paced sport (and therefore more fun, and a much better workout in the committee’s opinion) than hockey due to the lightness of the equipment. As you may have seen at the welcome fair, we brought along a floorball stick which is incredibly light and reminiscent of an ice hockey stick, and the distinctive ball which is white and dotted with holes.

The club trains for 2 hours weekly (usually on a weekend), plays various tournaments throughout the year against rival university floorball clubs in addition to regular friendlies with London-based universities. Our players range from international level to humble beginners but with the range of activities there is always game-time for every member. And as is the case with every other sports club, we live for the socials such as pub and club nights as well as the occasional chow down/ munch/ scoffing one’s face to the utmost.

If this article has sparked an unappeasable yearning to come to a training session to try out the exotic sport of floorball, then please contact us on our facebook page (www.facebook.com/uclu.floorball), it’s never too late to try something new!