Salibandy, innebandy, unihockey, floorball... Call it what you will, this unique Scandinavian sport is quickly gaining popularity all around the world. But what the hell is it?
Floorball is a team sport that is very similar to hockey, and also shares some components with soccer and basketball. The game is played on an indoor court, making it a good sport to play all year around – in fact, floorball was invented by the Swedes as a winter alternative to hockey.
The game is played with a lightweight stick, similar to a hockey stick, and a plastic ball three inches in diameter that is marked with twenty six holes to make it lighter. Each team has six players on the field at a time, one of whom is the goal keeper. The coach, however, can choose to remove the goal keeper and replace him or her with an offensive player. This has obvious advantages for the offense and disadvantages for the defence of the team.
The aim of the game is to hit the ball into goals without touching the ball with any part of your body, although you may kick the ball forward onto your stick. The game has three periods which last twenty minutes each, interspersed by intermission of three to ten minutes. The clock is stopped during time out, penalties and other situations where the game is not in play.
Floorball is a non contact sport, although shoulder to shoulder contact is allowed. Any contact will result in a penalty to the other team. In this aspect, floorball is similar to soccer. The game is usually played on a floorball rink that is 36 – 44 metres wide, however the game can easily be played on a basketball court or in a gymnasium.
Floorball is rapidly becoming an international sport, with world championships and plans to become a part of the 2020 Summer Olympics. Queensland has its own floorball association that encourages new members to have a try.