Why I Like Floorball Just As Much As The Danes

Floorball in Denmark

Floorball is a universally playable version of hockey that retains the speed and excitement without the serious possibility of squeaky voices

  It was the summer of 1978 and I fell to my knees on the grassy surface that had been beneath my feet, clutched my crotch in a tiny little world of agony that was mine and mine alone, keeled over sideways and began to unselfconsciously sob at just how unfair the world was being to me and my genitals. The cause of my pain stood over me, blocking out the sunlight that silhouetted them against azure skies and looked down on me with a mixture of concern, scorn and pity. The concern being she might be penalized for her high-sticking antics, the scorn and pity purely for me.

Floorball The Safe Alternative To Hockey
● 58 countries play the sport
● Hugely popular in Denmark
● ComeOn! Sportbook has all the odds

Seven year old girls shouldn’t be able to dismiss anyone so easily with a glance, but Becky managed it, and as she apologized without the slightest trace of sincerity and I tried to piece back together my dignity and balls, she trotted away, stick in hand, ready to find another victim in this barbaric game of hockey a sadistic games mistress had thought such a good idea. Certainly the game taught me a thing or two but I’m not sure that’s what the teacher had been aiming for, actually, come to think of it, it probably was.

You see back then in dear old blighty boys played football and cricket, girls played netball and hockey, that was the way of things, the natural order of the universe, that was how it should and would always be, certainly to my undeveloped mind of the time. Unfortunately the vocal nature of the youthful male derision concerning hockey led to the now infamous pitching of boys vs girls in a game that was supposed to demonstrate the skill and fitness required of the game, but just ended up a wholesale destruction of young male egos, shins and wedding tackle.

The only comparison I can make to aptly describe the scenes of carnage would be to point you at some of Hieronymus Bosch’s depictions of hell and tell you the damned souls of the mortals seen therein are getting off easy even if they do have a pitchfork lodged where only customs officers in rubber gloves dare to delve. The only major difference being that Bosch’s painting lacked a middle aged woman with a whistle looking far too vaguely happy at constant male agony about her. The final result was recorded in injuries, blood loss and instances of post-traumatic stress that led we chaps reassessing the game of hockey. It wasn’t a sissy game for girls after all, it was a game for armed savage violent animals that should be avoided at all costs.

Unihockey Has No Unicycles

Facing Becky and her chums on the field had been a little too much like facing a Viking raiding party, the screaming, the flailing weapons, the wailing of their fallen foes, all very reminiscent of history lessons we’d had but a few weeks before. On the day we’d probably have preferred the Vikings, an axe in the face far preferable to a hockey stick in the goolies I assure you. Perhaps this then is why the Danes themselves have taken to a far less dangerous form of the sport, a form that carries with it far less possibility of an early bath and aching conkers.

Floorball playing

Floorball is a fast past all action game that’s played indoors by teams of six using sticks akin to those used in street or roller-hockey and a ball so light and fast it makes an ice hockey puck look positively lethargic. The goals look like those of Ice hockey with the keeper often to be seen hunched in similar poses albeit without the ridiculous quantities of padding that make ice hockey goalies look like ‘The Thing’ from the Fantastic Four. The Danes love it.

Danish gambling laws might be a tad strange for this day and age but that doesn’t stop hoards of Danes putting money on their favorite floorball teams week in week out on sites like ComeOn! Sportsbook that offers an up to date service for fans of this manic version of hockey. As I write this there are three games scheduled for tonight, with the best of them likely to be Aab Floorball vs Sunds Seahawks FC as the odds are the closest (1.57 to 3.25 respectively) and we’ll have to see who wins there later.

With the advantage of not being prey to the weather, and not requiring the technical jiggery-pokery of an ice rink the sport has flourished due to its ease of hosting. Indoor sports halls can easily accommodate the game and whilst high level matches require the use of a 50cm surround that has rounded corners for the amateurs it’s entirely possible to just “play off the walls”. Even the size of the playing area is variable making it easy to play nearly anywhere.

Danes Love Floorball

Whilst it originated in Sweden the Danish love of the game goes back all the way to the 1970s and their rivalries with nearby nations who also participate in the sport are legendary. The Swedes take it very seriously, their team IBF Falun won the prestigious Czech Open, as do the Latvians, who are the current EuroFloorball Cup holders, and the extent of this sport isn’t limited to a few European nations where it’s too cold to play outside and no one is tall enough to play basketball.

Floorball in Denmark

There are floorball competitions in Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Ireland, Japan, Singapore, the United States and, indeed, Germany, where playing anything other than football is almost a national betrayal. The growth of the game has been spurred on by it’s exciting style, it’s ease of participation and the lack of serious injuries it creates. Floorball sticks are carbon composites barely a meter long and have to weigh less than 350 grams. By comparison Becky’s solid wooden stick weighed the same as a sledge hammer and hit home with the momentum of an inter-planetary collision.

The International Floorball Federation has 58 members now it won’t make the gambling news headlines when I predict that is set to extend in the future as a new generation of players finds the game of unihockey not as inflexible as field hockey (that requires tolerable weather) nor as violently needy of equipment as ice hockey (that needs skates and more padding than an American Football player) and because it is indoor it’s an all-year round sport which makes it popular with schools and sports clubs around the world.

If you’ve not seen it played there are plenty of clips online to show you just what a crazy fun game this is, and for those of you who like to bet on sports in Denmark you can back both your own teams and those of some other nations, notably Finland and Sweden, over at ComeOn! Sportsbook. As for myself I’ve yet to try the game, and frankly I feel I’m unlikely to do so, for that you can blame my inherent lethargic nature, my ghastly middle aged unfitness and a seven year old girl called Becky whose face I still sometimes see on sleepless nights, lunging towards me out of the darkness, features contorted in a battle cry of no small ferocity, her stick just about to teach me what life was really going to be like all these years later.

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