Thursday, May 8, 2014

Southwestern Likes Floorball Before It’s Cool

By Makala Coleman, junior journalism major

Southwestern Adventist University is ahead of the game, the floorball game to be specific. Floorball is a sport comparable to floor hockey. Its quickly gaining
popularity in the United States, and Southwestern is leading the way. 

“This was our third year to host the Southwest US Floorball Championship
Tournament,” says Vesa Naukkarinen, chair of the kinesiology department. “The
sport is growing, but it’s not very big in the United States yet. As far as I know, no
other university in the U.S. has organized floorball.”

Floorball is safe, low-cost, and easy to teach and learn. It’s less aggressive than hockey, so it works great for co-ed play. Emphasis is on speed, skill and
technique rather than physical strength.

This year, six floorball teams competed in the tournament. The sport is becoming a big deal especially in cities such as Dallas and Austin. Even the NHL’s Dallas Stars have recognized floorball and have recently started a fitness initiative in
area schools that includes floorball. 

“I grew up playing floorball in Europe,” says Naukkarinen. “Then when I
taught it at Washington Adventist University it was successful, so I knew from
experience that people would be interested here too. What I wasn't aware of was
that there is a floorball store in Fort Worth and groups that play the sport regularly
in the DFW area.”

Other than the tournament, Southwestern also offers a floorball class in fall
semesters. Also, every Sunday morning students play for fun, as well as teach
elementary and middle school students the sport. The floorball intramural program
is huge this year with 8 teams and 86 players playing.

“It’s just so much fun to play,” says Naukkarinen. “I look forward to seeing it
grow in other schools as well.”
The world floorball championships are an annual event played since 1996
and the US participates as well. The International Floorball Federation has 55
member countries and hopes that floorball will become a part of the 2020 Summer

Already widespread in countries such as Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden,
Norway and Switzerland, floorball promises to someday be a favorite sport here in the United States. 
Southwestern is happy to lead the charge. 
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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!