Floorball in Finland with SSV Helsinki

Imagine Ice hockey without ice. Take away the fights and wall slams, swap the skates for running shoes and the puck for a light and fast moving plastic ball. The arena is about the same size but the floor is a rubber coated hard surface designed for speed.  Five players plus a masochistic goal keeper race it out end to end in search of the elusive goals that come about as often as a good football/soccer game.

floorball3Floorball is all the rage across Scandinavia and is rapidly spreading around the globe, in fact there were 16 teams at this week’s men’s World Cup in Sweden including the USA, Japan and Australia. Here the family discover why this sport is growing so fast. If you put all the ingredients of the ideal sport into one pot and stirred it up I’m certain you’d get Floorball.

Floorball is fast and skillful yet it’s quite easy to get started as a beginner in the right team. There is some physical contact but undue rough play is discouraged so injuries are mostly limited to occasional ankle and knee mishaps. It’s affordable with minimal equipment and apparel requirements and reasonable season dues but Floorball still has its own unique “kit” including a distinctive stick so you can tell a floorballer when you see one.

Training and games have all the elements of team work but still allows individuals to let their talent shine through and if you’re a goalie who loves to be constantly under fire they have that covered too! Training is not just limited to the game with our coaches putting us through rigorous speed, strength, agility and flexibility conditioning on top of many skills and drills with stick and ball as the sport demands all of these and more at any competitive level.

Perhaps the only thing about our limited experience to Floorball some may not approve of is the competitiveness. We trained and played with 10 year olds and these kids wanted to win! I like that and believe it helps all levels rise and prepares kids for the harsh realities of life, but I am aware some believe in participation without pressure. Perhaps Floorball is not for them but it is definitely for us!

Above all Floorball is good healthy fun! Our final session was packed out on a Friday night. These kids could have been hanging out on the streets, being exposed to all kinds of anti-social and unhealthy behaviour but instead they were in the arena having a blast, working up a sweat and going hard at it with a smile on their faces. Isn’t that what every parent wants for their kids?

We enjoyed three training sessions and games this week with the SSV Helsinki Vikings and send a massive thanks out to all the coaches and players who made our experience so memorable including our World Champion Santtu Manner, Jere Liljenbäck and Artturi Altio. We also met one of Finland’s and the world’s greatest champions, Mikael Järvi who was very generous with his time and advice.

For those in Helsinki, the Vikings have a wonderful website at:  and we encourage kids and their grown-ups around the world to look for their local Floorball club and get off the couch. Paul.

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