Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Not Your Average Hockey Game


At first glance, it would appear as though the sport floorball is merely an alternative to Canada’s beloved game - hockey. But one step on the court and you quickly realize that this is not the case. Originally from Europe, floorball is now one of Canada’s fastest growing sports with home-grown teams competing at an international level. Its appealing finesse and fast paced nature draws a wide variety of clientele from hockey players in their off seasons to couch potatoes merely looking to get back into the game and everyone in between. While the sport may be relatively new to Canada (only making the trek across the ocean in the early 2000s), new leagues are sprouting up and beginning to thrive.

Tyler Brush, the founder of the Floorball League of Cambridge, fell in love with the sport when he was introduced to it by a gym teacher in his high school years. That love has turned into a passion and the now Team Canada player created the Cambridge League just five years ago. 
Brush recalls with his hockey years behind him that, “I was just finishing up my hockey career and starting to attend university. I was looking for a new inexpensive outlet to fulfill my need to compete, while still staying active. Floorball seemed like the perfect opportunity to do this”. With no floorball league around, Brush simply, “Began inviting friends and family out to play”. While Brush did not originally intend to turn his passion into a league, he soon realized that this sport was contagious. 

Now with registration to the start of the league’s fifth season opening today, Brush admits that, “The highlight of every year is watching all of the players develop a love for the sport as the season progresses. Seeing athletes from other sports make the transition is always fun”. Brush is looking forward to the upcoming season as exciting changes are being made to accommodate the rapidly growing league such as, “becom[ing] a recognized league within Floorball Canada. Because of this we now have an official website with standings, scoring leaders, schedules, etc. as well as online registration”. The league that is situated in Cambridge, Ontario now sees players from major surrounding cities such as Paris, KW, and Ayr.

But what is it exactly about this sport that draws people in? Nick Baetz has been the captain of Team Heritage and has been with the league since its humble beginnings. With one championship under his belt, Baetz is no stranger to competition and has played competitive sports his whole life. But he claims that floorball is different. 
The captain states, “I have been playing [floorball] for four years. I always loved playing ball hockey, but after playing floorball I liked it even more because it is faster, cleaner and has more of an emphasis on skill and passing”. Baetz adds that another positive to the league is the variety of skill levels. He states, “It is fun because it can get competitive, but it is also friendly and people are respectful of others”. 
The league is sprinkled with players who have never seen the sport to Team Canada hopefuls and everywhere in between. Baetz’s championship came earlier on in his career as Team Heritage was the 2012 Mercier Cup Champions. He credits his team as the secret to his success even though his team has changed year after year. Baetz admits that the sport is accommodating to all athletes as, “I have a few core players that I have been with for a few years, and then I ask people I know that enjoy playing sports and who are interested in playing”.

What does the future hold for this thriving small town league? Looking to the hopeful upcoming season, Baetz claims, “I am looking forward to playing again with my team and striving for our second championship”. Brush, who will have recently returned from worlds at the beginning of the new season in January, brings his international perspective to the league stating, “Floorball is a big deal overseas and has a great fan base and players from all ages. 

Each time I travel to Europe my love for the sport is rejuvenated and I am more excited to help the sport grow in North America”. The Floorball League of Cambridge runs on Monday nights from January to April, and also holds weekend tournaments throughout the year and summer kids programs. For more information on the league or to be a part of this contagious game, you can check out their Facebook page at “The Floorball League of Cambridge” or visit their website at www.floorballincambridge.ca.

Nov. 3, 2014

Cassandra Brush
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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!