Thursday, September 27, 2012

Presenting: The Very First "Floorball" Team

Phil Carlson, ret.
President at Cosom Corporation,
Minn USA.
This ball in his hands, produced by
the Cosom Corp.
Many great Inventions are often portrayed as the fruit of one person.

After long discussions with Phil Carlson at the Minnesota History Museum and Library our conclusion is that there were not one single individual that invented Floorball and Floor Hockey.

The sport(s) grew, based upon the contributions from several involved "players" in a team.
We will list the most important players here with a short description of how they contributed or their function. This list is hopefully also described in a chronological order.

Mr. Clinton Carlson, started to work on the first Fun Ball in 1948 and formed the Cosom Corporation. He invented both the production process as well as the ball and its design. He owned the Cosom Corporation and had the very first Floorball related patent. The Fun Ball is essentially the ball design that all Floorball players use, still to this day.

Mr. Phil Carlson, Mr. Al Teter and, Mr. Lawrence "Larry" Erickson all worked together to invent, design and developed not only the ball but they also invented and designed the Cosom sticks. The first Cosom stick has a "U" blade in a shape like most of today's Floorball sticks.
Mr. Erickson had a special role in this team since he did not work for the Cosom Corporation. He worked for Rainbow Plastics in Minneapolis and this was the company that produced the very first sticks for the Cosom Corporation. This is ongoing work from 1950 into the 60ties and well beyond. Cosom sticks, close to the very original design, are still available on the US and Canadian markets.

We will in another post separately describe how the first sticks evolve and why.

Mr. Tom Harter, the Parks and Rec Director, from Battle Creek, MI is the next very important player since he was able to develop the game in both its proportions as well as it came to the rules of the game (we will dive into the game rules and its marketing too in a couple of days). Mr. Tom Harter would today have been recognized as a "Beta tester" with deep connections to the larger "software development" of the full "product offer".  Mr.  Harter is by many people, mainly online, portrayed as the inventor of Floor Hockey. Go and search for him online - and you will find that he is considered to have invented Floor Hockey.
We say this is wrong - or at least a truth with some room for some serious modification. Mr. Harters contributions took place during the 60-ties. We have Mr. Harter to thank for many rules used in today's Floorball.

According to our source, there was another player involved. She was a Physical Educator in Minneapolis and she insisted that Cosom also should make plastics sticks with straight "Ice Hockey like" blades to more resemble Ice Hockey and this way attract more players to Cosom Hockey or Safe T Hockey as it was also called.
Our take on this is that she ought to be the individual that created or at least inspired the others in the direction of Floor Hockey. Unfortunately we do not have her name.
Tom Harters contribution to the game is mainly with sticks that looks like Floorball sticks do today and with rules that strikingly resembles modern Floorball rules - with a few large exceptions. This is something we will develop further.

The last very important person in this team is Carl-Åke Ahlquist. He is the Swedish man that Phil Carlson met for the first time at a trade fair in Cologne Germany during the mid 60ties. We will have a separate little story on why and what drove the stick development further - and over to Sweden soon.
Here is a recent clip on Mr. Ahlquist where he speaks, only in Swedish ;-(, about Minnesota:

To wrap this post up: Floorballcentral wants to thank J & C Irwin for their devoted work with historic material at the Minnesota Museum and Library. We of course thank Mr. P. Carlson for his time and passion. It is also very interesting to note that Mr. Carlson (both cousins, Phil and Clinton) as well as Mr. Erickson are Swedish Americans, with families from Sweden.

Another reflection could be that the USA was a very vibrant developing economy after the second world war and perhaps that makes it a natural thing that it started over here - and then the transfer to Sweden occurs as the Swedish economy revved up its engine during the 60ties..

We have some copied material from the Minnesota Museum and library that we want to share on this site too - but we have promised to wait until the Museum give us permission to share their records. So hold on hopefully they will not let us wait 3-4 weeks...
We still have much to tell you that does not require the permission to show copies...

Hold on for more posts on this soon.
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Research suggest that eye-injuries are more common in Floorball as compared to Tennis, but less common as compared to Squash (similar to Racquetball).
To minimize this risk of injury Floorballcentral recommend: Use certified protective eye-wear (mandated in many European areas for the youth). Do not lay down on the court. Follow the rules strict on stick height.

Also if you get addicted to this sport - do not blame us!