Floorball is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States and across the world! Floorball, a type of indoor hockey, is a team sport devolved in Europe that is rapidly spreading across North America. The game, recognized by the International Olympic Committee can be played on most surfaces, including wooden gym floors, smooth asphalt or the preferred rubber mat flooring and this makes it a year-round activity for both amateurs and professionals.
Floorball vs. Traditional Floor Hockey
There are certainly similarities, but also major differences between floorball and traditional floor hockey. First of all, floorball equipment, also known as modern/contemporary floor hockey equipment, is much better to use. The durable sticks are more lightweight which allows for safe play. The weight of the sticks also ensures that participants of all ages can participate, and the thoughtful design of the blade allows for better stickhandling. The sticks have also been designed not to scuff/damage gym floors. Floorball and modern floor hockey is played with a an aerodynamic ball which ensures that the game is fast and fun. Floorball rules differs slightly from traditional floor hockey rules (see below).
The game is a hybrid version of ice-hockey and the basic setup is similar to ice/floor hockey hockey with six players on each team including a goalkeeper. The object is to score more goals than the opposing team within a set amount of time. Floorball can be played in space of all sizes, but the official area consists of an indoor court, 131 x 65 feet (40 x 20 meters), surrounded by 20 inch high (50 centimeter) boards, enclosing the court.
Youth & Community Floorball
The sport can be played with virtually any sized group, with or without goalkeepers, making it a perfect sport for U.S schools, community groups and other organizations regardless of available space.
Not only is floorball fun and fast-paced, the sport is also safe due to the lightweight equipment. Anyone can play floorball! Due to the simplicity of the sport and the safe equipment, floorball has become the sport of choice for individuals across the world, regardless of age, physical ability and gender. The lightweight floorball sticks and aerodynamic balls ensures that individuals of all ages can play floorball. In fact, the sport is very popular amongst age groups ranging from young school children to senior citizens. Since floorball is versatile and the activities can be modified, the sport is accessible and a great choice for all groups that are interested in promoting a healthy lifestyle and active living.
A Versatile Sport
Floorball can be modified in several ways in a non-professional game setting. The number of participants can be reduced or added depending on the age of the players and the court-space available. Floorball can be played both indoors and outdoors on any sized-space making it a perfect sport for street-play, school activities and after-school programs. Floorball does not solely have to be played as a traditional competitive sport; in fact, floorball can be played in various forms, including through playful obstacle courses, relay-races and other fun games which makes it a perfect solution for community groups.
Floorball as a Professional Sport
Floorball is played as an indoor professional sport in multiple countries across the world, with international tournaments such as the World Championships played on a regular basis. The most popular leagues can be found in Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Czech Republic and the sport is growing rapidly in countries and regions such as Finland, Australia, Jamaica, Singapore Canada and the USA.
As of 2015, the International Floorball Federation (IFF) includes nearly 60 member associations from all continents which makes floorball a global sport.
Floorball will be an official sport at the Special Olympics World Winter Games held in Austria 2017.
The sport will also be played at the South East Asia Games 2015 (SEA Games).
The Official Rules
1. Games can be played with three to five players and a goalie on the court for each team. The goalie may be substituted for an additional player if desired. For an official game, five players and a goalie for each team is required.
2. No catching ball or hands on ball, except for goalie, infraction results in a 2 min penalty.
3. No jumping (one foot must be on the ground when receiving the ball), infraction results in a free hit.
4. Players may not go down on two knees to make plays or block shots. Only the goalie may play from their knees, infraction results in a 2 min penalty.
5. Ball must be received on a stick below knee level, infraction results in a possession change. If contact is made with the ball above the knee, infraction results in a 2 min penalty.
6. Sticks must stay below waist level when shooting with a similar follow through allowed. Stick above waist on a shot will result in a 2 min penalty.
7. No stick checking, lifting, or slashing. A minor infraction results in a possession change, an infraction in a scoring position or repeated infraction results in a 2 min penalty.
8. No holding of stick, players, or shirt or general interference, infraction will result in a 2 min penalty.
9. No playing your stick between another player’s legs. Results in a possession change.
10. No body contact with the exception of incidental shoulder contact, infractions will result in a 2 min penalty.
11. No playing the ball with the head – infraction results in a 2 min penalty.
12. Face-offs: Face offs will be used to start the game at the beginning of each period and to re-start after each goal or if the ball is damaged. For a face-off, stick blade must be on the ground and perpendicular to centerline, feet parallel to centerline ball and the middle of the two players’ sticks. Players cannot reverse their grip or hold the stick below the face-off line. Play starts with a whistle blow.
13. Possession changes: Occurs in the situations cited above. Ball is played as a direct free shot similar to a soccer free kick, where the offending players must be 3 meters away and the ball must be shot or played to another player upon the officials whistle blow with a solid hit – not a sweeping motion.
14. Substitutions may occur at anytime.
For more complete and in-depth floorball rules, visit the International Floorball Federation's Rule Book