If you didn’t know, Floorball was showcased at the World Games for the firs time since 1997. If you haven’t heard of the World Games you’re not alone. The World Games are more or less the younger brother to the Olympics. In many ways it is the stepping stone to the Olympics. There were only six teams that qualified for Floorball. Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Poland, and USA. Four of the teams qualified for the World Games based on their ranking in the World Floorball Championships with Poland securing their place as the host country. The USA qualified as the top non-European team, just edging out Canada.
The USA team, comprised of US players based around Europe and playing in various leagues there had a difficult task for the World Games. In the group stage they were paired with Swizterland, and Sweden (top 4 teams in the world). The first match against the Swiss ended 17-0, and 20-0 against Sweden. To many this would look shocking. While it’s not an ideal score we have to take into account that Floorball has been a staple in Nordic countries for a long time. In this part of the world Floorball has various tiers of development and competition from youth recreational leagues, up to the National Teams. In comparison to sports in the US, it could be compared to the farm systems of Minor League teams in hockey and baseball. Taking that into account it was not necessarily too surprising of an outcome however unfortunate.
As the tournament progressed the US played their third match against Poland for 5th place in the World Games. From the beginning of the match it was apparent that the US team came to play. They a had a distinct energy to their game that made a huge difference. At the same time the US was a better match in skill with the Poland team. That doesn’t take anything away from those two teams, but shows how far the other four teams are in terms of skill and development. If you watch the games, which can be found in replay on YouTube it will be apparent at the difference in skill level. However, this final match for the USA was a good one to showcase the skill the US can provide. The USA were able to outlast the Polish team with a solid performance on both sides of the ball ending in USA 4 to Poland 1.
With the World Games coming to a close it’s important to start looking towards the 2021 World Games, which will be hosted by the USA in Alabama. Given the success of the this years games it’s likely the USA will get a first hand look at the best in the Floorball world. We need to grow the sport at all levels targeting youth programs, adult leagues and mostly just get people playing. As a country we have a long way to go in building this sport back home, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility to see Floorball grow in popularity.
I challenge all of my readers to seriously consider adding Floorball in your community. It’s a great inclusive sport that gets people active and moving, and in terms of cost it’s a very affordable sport. Get involved and get playing. If you need help contact me for more info at firstname.lastname@example.org