Floorball is a fast and exciting game that promotes end-to-end plays with quick transitions and fluid game play. The rules stress the importance of safety and sportsmanship and are designed to limit the chance of injury without decreasing the speed or skill of the game.
One of the absolute advantages of Floorball is that it is very easy to become a player. Anyone regardless of age, physical condition, or gender can grab a floorball stick and join in the fun. It certainly has the potential to fill a niche for people who love hockey because it is played very similarly to hockey; however, Floorball does not require the skill of skating and with rules that prohibit hitting and checking, the sport is safe to play coed and with mixed age levels. It is also inexpensive compared to inline or ice hockey because the only equipment requirements for a field player is a stick and a pair of good indoor court shoes. Goalies require helmets and pads but they don’t play with a stick.
Floorball is very similar to ice hockey minus the ice, which is why many professional hockey clubs in Europe use it for off-season training to improve stick skills and foot speed. A floorball game is played between two teams that can use a maximum of 20 players each with lines of 5 players and a goalie. The usual formation is two wings, one center, two defenders, and one goalie. Games consist of three 20-minute periods of play.
In various forms the game has been played since the early 20th Century in Canada as a recreational sport, especially in high school gymnasiums, as a playful variant of hockey, where the sticks got their form from the hockey game bandy. Most Canadian males born in the 1950s and before could attest to this. Similarly, during the 1950s and 1960s many public school systems within Michigan incorporated floorball into their primary and secondary school gym classes. Later, Americans claimed to have invented it, and held interstate tournaments in the 1960s. The game was formally organized as an international and more organised sport in the late 1970s in Gothenburg, Sweden. The sport began as something that was played for fun as a pastime in schools.After a decade or so, floorball began showing up in Nordic countries where the former schoolyard pastime was becoming a developed sport. Formal rules soon were developed, and clubs began to form. After some time, several countries developed national associations, and the IFF was founded in 1986.
The game of floorball is also known by many other names, such as salibandy (in Finland), innebandy (in Sweden and Norway), and unihockey (in Switzerland and Ireland). The names “salibandy” and “innebandy” are derived from bandy; they translate to “hall bandy” and “indoor bandy” respectively. Unihockey is derived from “universal hockey” since it is meant to be a special and simplified hockey form.