Sometimes, all it takes for a sport to gain notoriety is a push.
Floorball is hoping that when it comes to the United States, that push will be found at the World Games, which will be held in Birmingham, Alabama, in 2021. Before that, though, it’ll be found at the 2017 World Games, which will be held in Wroclaw, Poland.
And for floorball (for the uninitiated, it’s a form of indoor hockey), next summer is a huge deal, since it marks the first multi-sport competition this sport has ever been included in.
Floorball’s inclusion could mean a boost for indoor facilities, since it represents a sport that appeals to a variety of athletes. It’s also popular in the Special Olympics, where a modified form is played. As an aside, floorball was a demonstration sport at the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games, and will be played again at the Games in 2017.
The sport is organized internationally by the International Floorball Federation (IFF). Events include an annual Euro Floorball Cup for club teams and the biennial World Floorball Championships, with separate divisions for men and women. While the IFF contains 58 members, the Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden, and Switzerland have consistently placed 1st, 2nd, or 3rd at the World Floorball Championships. Therefore, a boost for the sport in the USA may be the shot in the arm it needs to grow on this side of the ocean.
According to Inside The Games, the IFF is looking for host for the women’s World Championships in 2021 and the men’s championships in 2022. (The women’s World Championships are scheduled to take place from December 4 to 12, 2021, while the men’s are planned for December 3 to 11, 2022. However, alternative dates are likely to be considered for the latter however, as the 2022 FIFA World Cup is due to be held from November 21 to December 18 in Qatar.)
And by the way, for those who think a sport with a whiffle-like ball and a smaller playing area doesn’t really have a future, we have one word for you: pickleball.