There’s a misconception that needs to be cleared up. It is important that you understand this concept because it matters. Simply put, floor hockey is not the same as Floorball. It may be similar, but it is very much its own sport. If you’re playing floor hockey you may have even made adaptions to the rules, which are likely the rules of Floorball. If that’s the case the only thing you’re missing is the equipment. Again, while they’re similar sports at first glance they are in fact different.
When people see Floorball for the first time they immediately recall their school days when they would play hockey in PE. For many this became the best program of the year. If you lived in areas without ice hockey or a hockey culture you were excited about doing something different. However, after school it pretty much ended. It wasn’t common to find hockey being played on the playground in many regions around the US. In the 90’s street hockey had a surge with roller hockey grabbing the attention of ESPN with leagues popping up in California, but that didn’t last very long. While street hockey grew, floor hockey as a full-fledged program hasn’t done a lot beyond being played in school. There’s also a distinction that needs to be noted based on where you live. Floor hockey (also known as ball hockey or dek hockey) does have a bigger presence in certain areas. Typically in the north eastern US.
Floor hockey is more or less hockey without skates, and the rules closely follow ice hockey. This is a key difference between floor hockey and Floorball. It’s important to note the difference and call each sport what it is. Calling Floorball and floor hockey the same thing confuses more than helps. In fact I’ve had conversations with people who immediately discredit Floorball as a sport because of their history and views on floor hockey. I’m even seeing some promote and sell Floorball equipment as floor hockey equipment. I understand they’re trying to bridge a gap between hockey culture to make the connection. However, a lack of education on the language and sport creates more challenges. If Floorball is to raise awareness and grow it is vital they we’re all using the same language.
The nice thing about Floorball is that it draws from other sports such as hockey, soccer, lacrosse, and basketball. From the rules to game play it is a sport that if you’ve played any of those will understand the format of how to play. The key differences of the sport are built around the rules. While floor hockey allows a lot of body and stick contact Floorball does not. This is crucial because we need to be playing Floorball not a pseudo form of hockey. What you’ll find in understanding these differences is that Floorball really is a different sport.
The argument that Floorball is the same as floor hockey baffles me. If you’ve played the two you’ll quickly understand why they’re not. There’s nothing wrong with either. I think that there is a lot of value in both and offering both. However, I believe that Floorball has a better potential to build into a regular fledgling sport. Having been around for 30 years floor hockey has not developed the same way soccer or basketball has, sepcific to youth leagues and development. I firmly believe, and it’s starting to show, that Floorball can and will be able to build from a primarily instructional activity to a developed sport.
Floorball is currently being developed across the world. It lends itself to being inclusive to all populations from the rules of the game and the quality of the equipment. This is what separates it from floor hockey, and will allow it to continue to grow around the world. Ice hockey is taking notice and using it as part of off-ice development. Schools are using it because they like the safety component of the sport through the rules and equipment. Kids and adults like it because it’s a fun, fast, cost effective, and engaging sport that can be played anywhere. There is a difference between Floorball and floor hockey, and it’s important to know and understand the differences. I think when you do you’ll choose Floorball.