Let's Play Floorball!

by Chris Martin on December 18, 2013

Here at Ultimate Mats, we’re all about emphasizing the importance of your floor. We know how difficult it can be to keep your workplace’s floors looking spotless, especially when they seem to have the traffic patterns of the average sporting event. And since we love both floors and sports, we’re naturally partial to a sport that puts “floor” in its name.

Ladies and gentlemen, are you ready for some floorball?

In a nutshell, floorball is ice hockey without the ice. Instead, the game is played either on a soft mat-like surface (much like you would see at Olympic wrestling or judo matches) or on a hard court meant for basketball or volleyball. The game itself traces its origins to the early 1970s in Sweden, and the International Floorball Federation has been governing the sport for over a quarter century.

The playing surface is usually between 59 and 72 feet wide and 118 to 144 feet long (for comparison, an NBA basketball court is 50 by 94 feet, while an NHL ice hockey rink is about 85 by 200 feet). The goals resemble ice hockey goals, but are about 5 1/4 feet wide and 3 3/4 feet high (or smaller than the 6×4 NHL goals). The only equipment that is used are hockey-like sticks and the plastic ball which resembles a wiffle ball, although goalkeepers wear helmets with face cages and do not carry sticks.

Like ice hockey, floorball games consist of three 20-minute periods and involve five players and one goalkeeper per side. Also like hockey, fouls result in two-, five-, or ten-minute penalties during which the offending player must exit the playing area while his team plays shorthanded. But the major difference between hockey and floorball is the level of contact permitted. In floorball, the only contact allowed is shoulder-to-shoulder; and all pushing, checking, tripping, or other contact is prohibited. Striking an opponent with a stick or using it to lift an opponent’s stick are also banned; in fact, the stick must be kept below knee level at all times.

After a stoppage in play, the ball is either dropped by a referee between two players (like a hockey faceoff) or one team puts the ball in play with a free hit (like a free kick in soccer). Also like soccer, goalkeepers can play the ball with their hands inside a defined area. They can throw it to a teammate as long as its touches the floor before the midcourt line (i.e., “hail Mary” passes are banned).

It’s easy to see how floorball would be popular in cold-weather climates where playing outdoor sports is not feasible. And since the game requires a limited amount of equipment, floorball is popular at the recreational as well as professional level. Not surprisingly, floorball is a higher-profile sport near where it originated, specifically Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. But it’s also making inroads in Western Europe, parts of Asia, and even North America. In fact, floorball was officially recognized as a sport by the International Olympic Committee in 2008 and organizers are trying to make floorball part of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

We at Ultimate Mats salute the sport of floorball and everyone who plays it around the world. And if your business requires you to keep your floors clean, you should consider a logo floor mat from Ultimate Mats.

Imaage credit #1: wikipedia

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