Thursday, September 18, 2014

Why Finns should go and play floorball in France?


Construction tour eiffel4.JPG
"Construction tour eiffel4". Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

France is among the minor countries practicing floorball in Europe. The national
federation is young, founded only 10 years ago and includes around less than 40 teams scattered all over the country, but mainly in the half northern part of France. Its 1000th licensed player was reached this year.

Floorball in France knows a rapid development nowadays with development of juniors.
The women are competing in a small championship as they gather 5 teams for the
upcoming season. Because of the lack of intense practice (the regular season usually consists of 10 games), a wide number of teams organizes their own tournament, mainly during spring and summer time, as a mean to get additional playing time.
However, those tournaments usually gather the same teams (usually the ones the
closest geographically). Very few foreigner teams have come and played on the French territory, most likely by a lack of knowledge

For the past two years, two Finnish teams from Etelä-Uusimaa (division 4 and division 5) came to France to get a glimpse of French floorball. In both of the cases, I can say that their travel was a complete success for both the Finns and the Frenchs. Not only the Finns have played against the French on the field but they have also enjoyed the local life of cities, that not has known as the capital city, including food and beverages (the beverages, especially ;). On the other side, the French were ecstatic and proud to receive north men from one of the best floorball country in the World on their field. I mean, for the French, Finns are like semi-gods when it comes to Floorball ;)
Summer is naturally the perfect time for Finnish teams to come and visit France, to take part to a floorball tournament experience which include friendly cheerful atmosphere on the field; in the audience and during the evening social activities. Of course, it is a good reason to visit the country and get acquainted with the french culture (e.g. cheap good french wines basically).

The list of the tournaments happening all over the year in France can be found on
www.floorball.fr
You are very welcome to check them and contact the organizers to ask whether a spot would be available for you.
Among all the tournaments, two are peculiarly suited for Finnish teams and rather
different. The first one is the TIFT (Tournoi international de floorball de Tourcoing) which takes place in Tourcoing, near Lille (north of France; 1h by high speed train TGV from Paris) at the end of August. It is the first and only international tournament in France so far. It gathers up to 12 teams from England, Belgium, Luxemburg, Sweden, Czech Republic... The tournament is set in one or two different gymnasiums. The priority is given to foreigners teams and the only French team is usually the organizer, the Tourcoing Nordiques (division 2). If some slots remain free, additional French teams are invited to take part. Besides, if you are lucky, the TIFT can happen the same week-end as “la Grande Braderie” de Lille, a huge yearly event that attracts a million tourists and is worth attending. Besides, it is a great place to try beers, and various specialties from North of France. Football fans may even decide to go and attend local football league team, LOSC, one of the best in France.

The second tournament I would recommend is the OFFestival in Orleans which takes place in early July. Orleans, the city of Joan of Arc, is located one hour South of Paris. By its configuration, the tournament offers a fast pace rhythm with 12*2 games and can gather up to 14 teams. Besides, several activities were added in between such as penalty shots drill, skill drill and shooting drill were added as well as a brilliant diner evening gathering all the teams. Last year was the occasion for Korso based Greasers 2 to come and win the tournament. The captain of Greasers was even interviewed by the french local television on that occasion. Greasers 2 has planned to come to defend its cup next season.

The French are always happy and proud to receive Finnish teams on their soil and to compare skill and discuss different matters also outside the fields. Of course, the level of French floorball is not as high as in Finland therefore those tournaments are more suited to teams from division 4 to division 6. Of course, women players and women teams are also very welcome as often the teams in France include a few individual women playing in the men’s team. I can only suggest Finns to come and enjoy a french week-end of floorball during next
summer 2015 !

Nicolas Kluger

Useful links
French national federation of floorball: http://www.floorball.fr
List of all the floorball tournaments in France: http://floorball.fr/Tournois-Amicaux
OFFestival http://www.offestival.sitew.fr/#Presentation.A
Tourcoing International Floorball Tournament https://www.facebook.com/
TourcoingInternationalFloorballTournamentTift
http://nordiquesfloorballclub.wordpress.com/category/tournoi-international-de-
tourcoing/

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This is a great article from a great individual that hands-on work with floorball development.
But we think the subject goes beyond Finns going to France. We think this is an excellent vehicle for French Floorball promotion to all countries. We think this is excellent modelling of behavior. We think people from many countries should break a border and go to France or why not somewhere else..too. This is how we spread Floorball - this is how we grow Floorball. Skip a silly beach vacation go and play Floorball instead. Irrespective of the vine or other things they have at places - and nope we do not think about some recreational stuff they offer in Colorado for instance - hepp.
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Caution

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!