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This is an article about Floorball. It is like floor hockey but the sticks blades let air through and they use a baseball sized whiffle ball. The game has a lot of technical and game skill transfer to hockey and is great interval training adn fun. You only need a surface to play on and I have played it on the grass as well. Bjorn Kinding has promoted the game in Edmonton.

A different kind of floor hockey aims to score big goals with popular European version called floorball.

Philip Quinn

From Wednesday's Globe and Mail Published on Wednesday, Jun. 09, 2010

The National Hockey League playoffs end this week, and 29-year-old entrepreneur Juha Mikkola hopes to continue making inroads in Canada’s hockey-mad culture by selling floorball as an off-ice activity that helps players improve their skills.

NHL stars such as Henrik and Daniel Sedin grew up playing this European version of floor hockey, the second-ranked sport behind soccer in Sweden. It’s a limited-contact sport, which means fewer injuries, and it’s relatively inexpensive to buy equipment and rent facilities.

It can be played year round on just about any gym floor.

But Mr. Mikkola’s lobbying is not his end goal. By helping to raise the profile and popularity of the sport, he plans to increase demand for the floorball equipment his Toronto-based company, FloorBallPro Inc., imports and distributes, such as sticks and the flowball, which can be fired at up to 190 kilometres an hour. His supplier, former Toronto Maple Leafs star Borje Salming, owns one of the world’s largest manufacturers of floorball equipment and accessories.

“We’re the importer and marketer for the product but a lot of the sales go through other companies such as Marchant’s School Sport Ltd. and T-Litzen Sports Ltd. (which sell to schools),” Mr. Mikkola said. “These companies are out there promoting (the sport) as well, mostly in the school system.”

Richard Powers, who is associate dean and executive director of MBA and masters of finance programs at the Rotman School of Management, has also been involved with helping rugby better establish itself in Canada. He’s currently the Canadian Olympic Committee member for Rugby Canada. “If he (Mr. Mikkola) sells the sport, people have to buy the equipment,” Mr. Powers explained. “The way to raise the sport’s profile is to raise the level of competition.

“The extent he can increase the number of teams and competitions, that’s where the business will be increased. What he’s doing there is creating a viable business model.”

Schools are already attracted to this lower cost, safer form of hockey. The key is to keep the interest of students once they graduate.
“To be really successful the transition has to be from the school system to a recreational league,” Mr. Powers said. “You see that in basketball, you see that in soccer, there has to be that transition. They play a sport in high school, grade school, if there’s no transition to league play they lose interest. One of the reasons rugby and soccer have been so successful are the various leagues.”
For Mr. Powers, the final step in making floorball a permanent fixture on the Canadian sports scene is governance, the establishment of national and provincial associations that will help set up and run championship level competitions.
Floorball’s success to date has primarily come at the high school level with more than 400 schools across Canada offering it as an intramural sport that both boys and girls can play. Mr. Mikkola has established relationships with retailers such as Source for Sports, in addition to generating sales through his web site, www.floorballpro.com.

“A lot of member stores have started with floorball products and are helping to develop leagues to get kids playing,” said Brent Hume, director of membership buying services for Source for Sports. “It’s a new sport. The product quality is there and the game being played is exciting.”

Source for Sports is a sponsor of the Canada Cup Floorball Championship, which attracts Canadian and international teams to a tournament held each year in Toronto. It’s grown to 57 teams from six, and it features European professionals among the 1,000 or so players in attendance. Creating and marketing such a big event helps sell the sport and Mr. Mikkola’s company runs it on a non-profit basis.

“Our bigger job is marketing the game itself,” said Mr. Mikkola, whose company has one other full-time employee and two part-timers. “We’re really concentrating on that as much as possible from running leagues and tournaments and helping to get the media interested to pretty much doing anything that lifts its profile so we are partners with a lot of organizations such as the Ontario Minor Hockey Association. Hockey Canada now has the sport in all their skill academies.”

Born in Finland, Mr. Mikkola revived his passion for floorball while studying at the University of Toronto. In 2002, he began selling sticks, perhaps 10 in all, from a total inventory of 20. A few years later, the Swedish trade commissioner introduced him to Mr. Salming. Since his sales volume was initially so low, he was able to vastly increase sales during the first few years. Now that his volume has grown, his challenge is to make a profit from the business while still selling the game he continues to love and to play. He's reluctant to release sales figures or revenue but said he now sells thousands of sticks a year. The global annual market for Mr. Salming’s sticks is about 250,000.

“Once people do know about the game they really do love it,” Mr. Mikkola said. “So it’s a double job we’re doing, wanting to get them excited about floorball so they want to play it and when it comes time for them to buy their first or second stick, we want to make sure our brand is top of mind.”

Special to The Globe and Mail


'The Game is the Greatest Coach'
'Enjoy the Game'
   
Admin
Registered: 06/25/08
Posts: 3019
Location: Calgary, Canada
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Hi, you can find more information about floorball from here:
IFF
There is also some sort of startup guide here:
http://www.floorball.org/Materiaalit/Floorball%20Youth%20Start%20Up%20Kit.pdf
I used floorball at our summer hockey camp for off-ice training and we actually played in the parking lot to small goals (without goalies) since there were no other possible places close to the ice rink. I just stuffed few small plastic bags inside this floorball ball to make it a bit heavier and more easily handled with the floorball stick. This game is also played by kids in schools, front yards and playgrounds all over Finland, and it is very good to develop "game sense".

   
Chatty
Registered: 10/01/08
Posts: 35
Location: Finland
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This looks interesting and has a number of possibilities. It is a great way to introduce younger players to hockey; no stress, no hitting, and no big bucks to lay out. Not a bad idea for older guys like myself who get to take a few shots, make a few passes, and maybe share some information with the up and coming. The plan is to attend this Wednesday evening's event in Philadelphia and I will let you guys know how it went.

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Looks like a lot of fun, and a great way to simulate hockey in the off-season. It's amazing how much attraction the game has for kids that have played even just a little.

We had floor hockey games twice a week this spring, about a month after hockey season ended. I wasn't expecting a great turnout since the weather was getting nice and kids would most likely have other things on their minds. We played in a hot indoor gym, used regular hockey sticks and inexpensive Mylec street hockey balls (the old school orange ones) and the kids loved it. Even with all the other things to do that time of year we had 20-25 kids show up on average, and the goalies started bringing their gear to make the game even more realistic. It was a great workout and good fun.

One interesting aspect of the game was that, due to the texture of the gym floor, it was pretty tough to run with the ball and stick handle so players had to be looking for team mates to pass to. I think it forced their decision making process to improve, and the quality of our games got better and better as time went on. The only down side was the stopping and starting was a little tough on the feet and knees (especially for an old guy like me.)

Growing up in Massachusetts we always played street hockey ("road hockey" in Canada, eh) but I had to go to the Internet to find the equipment this time around, leading me to wonder: Do kids still play good old fashioned street/road hockey?

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Sounds like some author here mixes up floorball with floor Hockey.
IT IS NOT FLOOR HOCKEY! And if you do not know that then you miss the point!

It is very different - even the russian Hockey team used it before the Olympics in Vancouver to rev up their old stars.
And yes the three best Swedish Hockey teams in the Swedish hockey league uses Floorball for off ice practice...

excited
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Tom,

I'm not trying to confuse the two games here, just expressing my enthusiasm for how contagious the game of hockey is in all it's shapes and forms, and relating my personal experience to demonstrate the point. That's the most important message I get from your books...the game is the best teacher.

Thanks for sharing the article.

DM

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DMan, I didn't make the last posting about floor ball. I have seen floorball and played a game of it in Vierumaki, Finland. It is very similar to floor hockey.

When I was teaching PE almost everyone in our school played intra mural floor hockey and about 25% participated in Basketball about 50% in volleyball. Kid's love it. They can at least play defense and shoot the ball down the floor.

I found the using the floorball (wiffle ball) stuffed with a plastic bag to be safer because the ball doesn't bounce as high so the sticks stay down. We used plastic floor hockey sticks or various sizes and shapes. It is difficult to find floorball equipment in North America.

Another great sport for the off season from Scandanavia is Rink Bandy http://hockeycoachingabcs.com/mediagallery/media.php?f=0&sort=0&s=20080727170321145 . It is played in the arena on ice with the same equipment except there are short rinkball sticks and a ball is used. There is no hitting and the rules for offside and icing are different but there is a lot of skating and the same principles as all goal centered games apply. It would be a great game for spring and summer where they keep the rinks open year round like about 20 are in Calgary.

As I write this I am watching the World Cup for Football (soccer). The game principles are the same as in hockey. Messi got about 4 great chances for Argentina; all from short passes and then breaking for the give and go. The horns blowing all the time creates a very different atmosphere than the chanting in other continents. Holland just won 2-0 over Denmark and plays Total Football with constant pressure on the ball. Football is the World Game and has been using SAG's and practicing in patches on the field for a long time. Hockey coaches can take a lot of lessons from the way they practice.


'The Game is the Greatest Coach'
'Enjoy the Game'
   
Admin
Registered: 06/25/08
Posts: 3019
Location: Calgary, Canada
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Thanks Tom,

My mistake there....I apologize.

I wish we had 20 rinks open in the summer! We are a one rink town, and it's closed for almost four months in the summer. That's why games like floor hockey, street hockey, and maybe someday floorball are so great...they keep the kids enthused in the long off-season.

Good point about using a plastic bag to keep the ball low too....we were lucky to escape the floor hockey season with all our teeth. They now inject street hockey balls with liquid to accomplish the same thing....haven't tried them yet though.

Thanks again,
DMan

8 posts :: Page 1 of 1