Floorball has been a sport growing in popularity in the United States for the past few years. At Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, Washington, it started as an activity spread by word of mouth, but transformed into an intramural expansion.
David Crawford, the director of recreation services at Saint Martin’s University, has previous experience in the sport, both as an instructor and player, and felt the sport could have a large success on their campus.
“I began evaluating the current sports offered and saw an opportunity to expand the sports that were currently played on campus,” said Crawford. “I’ve always played some version of floor hockey over the years, but was always frustrated with the equipment. When I came across floorball, I immediately saw the potential benefits that it had in relation to game play and overall satisfaction of the players.”
One of the many perks of offering floorball at your university is it provides players the same style of sport as hockey, without the high risk of concussions and other head related injuries.
“The sport of floorball, for all intents and purposes, is a low contact sport,” said Crawford. “Players don’t wear helmets, gloves or any other equipment that’s needed in hockey. It is recommended that players wear eye protection and a mouth guard, but it is not required. While incidents do happen, the overall flow of the game is built around finesse, speed and agility versus brute strength.”
While traditional marketing strategies are taken by Saint Martin’s University to publicize the sport, informal sessions have really been what spread the word about the popularity and benefits of the sport. These informal sessions are anything from offering the sport as an option at the monthly “late night” events to having the basketball and volleyball teams use floorball as conditioning practice.
“Saint Martin’s markets floorball as an inclusive sport,” said Crawford. “It’s already a sport that includes anyone regardless of age or ability. What we found in doing these informal sessions as part of our overall programming was that students who normally weren’t participating in intramurals, or weren’t even coming into the building, were now engaging with our department. This meets our mission of being a facility and department that is welcoming and inclusive to all.”
Crawford explained it is important to understand how beneficial the sport can be if offered at other universities. It is inexpensive, it won’t damage your floors and you can play it on nearly any surface.
“If you currently have a floor hockey program and it’s in decline you may find with a switch to floorball there may be more interest in players who aren’t currently playing,” said Crawford. “While floorball will attract the hockey crowd, it will also attract students looking for something new and different.”