This is what you need to know to try floorball

Do you love hockey, but not skating? You may want to try floorball, number 85 on the ParticipACTION 150 Play List. Here are some commonly asked questions about the sport – and the answers may floor you.

ARE FLOORBALL AND FLOOR HOCKEY THE SAME THING?

They’re similar, but not the same. As in floor hockey, floorball has a team of five players trying to score on the opposing team’s net, but there are a few rules that are specific to floorball, such as:

  • There is no stick checking, lifting, pinning or hacking. Players must use their positioning to go after the ball, instead of making contact with the other player’s stick or body.
  • Sticks must stay below the waist when shooting, and the stick must be below knee level when making contact with the ball.
  • Players will be penalized for pushing, shoving or checking. Incidental shoulder-to-shoulder contact is permitted when battling for a loose ball.
  • There are no offside or icing calls.

WHAT DOES A FLOORBALL STICK LOOK LIKE?

Shorter and lighter than a hockey stick, a floorball stick has a plastic blade with openings in a grid pattern. When held in front of you with the blade tip touching the ground, the end of the floorball stick should come to within three inches of your belly button. A short stick provides better ball control and helps keep the stick low to avoid penalties.

WHAT OTHER EQUIPMENT IS NEEDED?

Instead of a puck, floorball is played with a plastic ball with holes in it, very much like a Whiffle ball. Players only need to wear shorts, a shirt, and proper running shoes to participate. Protective eyewear is optional.

ARE THERE GOALIES?

Yes, each team has a goalie protecting its net, which is similar in size to a hockey net. Floorball goalies are given a helmet and some protective padding, but no stick. They remain on their knees at all times and use their hands and body to make saves.

WHO CAN PLAY FLOORBALL?

Anybody! The equipment and facilities needed are cost-effective and accessible for all. No special training or skills are required. Floorball is played by everyone from kids in gym class to NHL players looking to add finesse to their game during the off-season. There are also wheelchair floorball athletes – Canada sent a team to an international tournament in Switzerland last year.

Visit the Floorball Canada website for more information about this fun, safe and user-friendly sport. In addition to being a great workout, it teaches quick stick-handling, eye-hand coordination, and teamwork. All this, without a Zamboni in sight.