If you’ve read my blogs, followed on social media, or listened to our podcast you know we’ve covered this topic in some form or another. So, what’s different this time around?
If you’re new to Floorball you’re hopefully seeing a lot of talk about the sport. From the benefits the sport brings to youth, to it being low cost, adaptable, and so on. There’s something about this sport. With a similarity to hockey it can reach a broader audience opening doors for more youth to engage in sport.
What I’ve seen over the years is some of this being flushed out. Simply put, how are people trying to sell their sport while using the other. You’ll likely see the conversation built around it being a gateway to hockey. Based on it’s similarity to hockey that it automatically attracts hockey players. The connection being pushed is because what you can do on the ice carries directly off the ice through Floorball. Hockey should jump all over this sport. All of that is true. Yet for the large part Hockey still chooses to push this tool aside.
For the latter part, the Floorball community, at least in North America still continues to clamor for this market hoping that it will someday jump on board and with it bring a potential flood of money, influence, and more importantly players to the sport. Here’s the reality to the situation. Hockey players want to play hockey. More-over, hockey organization by and large are stuck in doing what they know, though that is changing on a larger scale in different and important ways. It’s encouraging to see this change in mindset in how programs, training, and coaching are evolving.
We come back to the bigger question. Does Floorball need hockey to grow and thrive? I’d argue no. While some NHL teams have used Floorball as part of their community effort, it hasn’t fully benefited the Floorball community as a result. Leagues, programs, and businesses haven’t sprung up in those areas to build on and capitalize on having those programs. In addition, it’s shown to not make a bigger impact in those areas.
Part of the challenge in growing the sport of Floorball is separating it from hockey in the first place. It’s not hockey. Never wants to be. It is it’s own entity and must continue to work to showcase it’s identity outside of other sports.
So what to do? Keep pushing. Keep educating, training, playing, and building the sport. Kids and adults want to play this sport. They are emphatically excited about playing. What Floorball needs to keep doing is do it’s own thing. It doesn’t need to rely on outside forces to drag it along. It needs to keep building it’s identity and effectively selling that to the broader market. This takes initiative, funding, resources, and more importantly time to happen. While hockey can help, Floorball should spend more time on it’s identity outside of hockey than within it.