A sport with a familiar feel of hockey and soccer.
Floorball is a fast-paced mix of hockey and soccer. It features stickhandling, goals, and penalty timing similar to hockey, while it has foul calls, free hits, and goalie ball handling rules similar to soccer. There is no offsides or icing the stick cannot normally be raised above the knee legally.
The game is played between two teams of six, five field players and one goalkeeper. Substitutions are free and unlimited during play similar to hockey. There is shoulder to shoulder contact but no checking, hooking, or stick checking is permitted.
The rink is a rounded corner rectangle measuring 40m by 20m. It is divided into two halves by a center stripe, and has face-off dots 2m from each side boards at the center strip and each goal line extended.
The goal area has two specific rectangles. The larger rectangle is the crease, an area in which the goalkeeper can handle the ball with his or her hands and can play the ball on the ground. The smaller rectangle is the goalkeeper’s area, where no player can be physically, though they can reach their stick into the area.
Just like in hockey, there is a center, two forwards, two defense, and a goalkeeper. The goalkeeper plays without a stick on their knees and is the only player that may handle the ball.
There is a single captain indicated by an armband like in soccer.
The players play with only a lightweight stick with a curved, grid-like blade. They run in standard court shoes and wear shorts and a jersey. No headgear other than a sweatband is allowed.
Goalkeepers wear a full face helmet with a protective cage mask. They play typically on their knees and wear cordovan pants with reinforced knee panels. The knee pads are typically longer, covering both the knee and the upper shin. They may or may not wear a light foam padded chest protector and tight gloves, similar to wide receiver gloves.
The ball may not be headed or handled by any player except a goalkeeper. The stick may not be lifted above the knee, except in a follow through motion on a slap shot (and then only to the waist).
Contact with the stick before the ball is prohibited. You may reach to steal the ball from anywhere except between someone’s legs. However, you must touch the ball first. Any other contact with the stick blade or shaft can result in a foul. Similar to soccer, the referee may call an “Advantage” which essentially is a delayed foul that, if called, would hurt the offended team.
Penalties are delayed and signaled by the referee exactly like hockey, with a raised arm. The goalkeeper may come off the rink during the delayed call since the offending team cannot score during the delay. Penalties are timed at 2, 5, or 10 minutes in a penalty box and again are handled exactly like hockey, where the penalized team is down either one or two players. During the power play, a goal scored by the non-penalized team releases the oldest penalty from the box.
There is no icing or offsides. The only rule for the center line is that the goalkeeper may not throw the ball over the center line without touching his side of the rink.
Fouls which occur and interrupt a scoring opportunity may be penalized with a penalty shot. These are handled similar to hockey, with the exception that the NAFL places a 15 second shot clock on the penalty shot.
The four most prominent countries in world Floorball are all in Europe: Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, and Switzerland are the top four programs. Each has a significant multi-level league system and both men’s and women’s national leagues. One of the most well known is the Swedish Super League, which operates throughout Sweden from fall to spring. The F-League is the Finnish Men’s Division 1, which is also very successful and popular in Finland.