Floorball Makes its Debut in New York City
Floorball makes its Special Olympics New York debut this winter with our first Super Regional competition at the Javits Center in New York City on Saturday, Dec. 2. It’s an exciting, fast-paced sport that promises competitive opportunities for athletes at the local level, in schools, and all the way to the world stage.
Before our first floorball champions earn their medals, here’s the full story on our transition from floor hockey to floorball.
What is Floorball?
Floorball is an indoor team sport in which two teams of five players (four field players plus one goalkeeper) compete to outscore each other over three 10-minute periods. Players use plastic sticks to pass and shoot a light plastic ball similar to a hard wiffle ball. The sport owes it origins to 1970s Sweden, and the Special Olympics version is largely the same as the original, albeit with a smaller court.
“Floorball is easier for any skill level athlete to pick up and play,” said Tom Adams, Special Olympics NY floorball coach in the Genesee Region. “I noticed when playing that the game requires more teamwork [than floor hockey] to be successful. It also seems faster and will require more running and quickness.”
Floorball will be replacing floor hockey as a Winter Sport in Special Olympics NY’s offerings. We know it’s a significant change, but there are many reasons for making it:
- Safety: Floorball is safer for our athletes than floor hockey because it encourages less physical contact.
- Availability: Floorball is a widely accepted school-based physical education offering.
- Accessibility: Floorball can be played on gymnasium flooring with low barriers, making facilities easier to find.
- Regulation: Floorball has a national governing body that certifies officials and provides training materials for coaches.
- Efficiency: An entire team’s equipment can be stored in a single duffel bag.
In addition to these reasons, the most important factor for adopting this new sport is advancement.
“Floor Hockey is currently no longer offered for advancement to higher level games,” said Stephen Fuller, Vice President of Program at Special Olympics NY. “The alignment with Special Olympics International and floorball reinforces our ability to provide athletes with advancement. Advancement is one of three critical pillars for credibility, with divisioning and governing body rules alignment being the other two. This trio results in the credible authenticity our athletes deserve.”
The Future of the Game in New York
We’ll get a taste of high-level floorball competition Saturday at the Javits Center. To prepare, our athletes have been practicing and our coaches have been attending trainings to learn more about the game. We look forward to building participation at Javits, at next February’s State Winter Games, and beyond.