Youth players are the key to the future of US floorball. Just like soccer really got started 40 or so years ago, floorball is at a similar infancy. What's next?
Two weeks ago we were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to host a demonstration rink in the Fan Zone at Texas Motor Speedway. For those who haven't been to the Speedway to see a race (and you really should) the Fan Zone is a free area for fans to gather before the race starts to buy souvenirs, get a bite to eat or drink, see product demos, and have fun activities with Speedway sponsors.
We set up our rink just outside Gate 5 and we had a continuous flow of kids of all ages come through. We had a 3 year old who just grabbed his stick and clambered over the boards, and he ran screaming around the rink having a grand time knocking the ball around. What was even more gratifying was watching the 6 year old who was playing goal be so gentle with the younger boy. The young one even scored a goal and he thought it was the greatest thing ever!
We had kids join on Saturday and come back immediately on Sunday, wanting more. We had kids join us Saturday...then drag their parents or grandparents back to play more later in the day. We had a couple of serious potential players jump in and take it very seriously...enough that even our players coaching and supervising came to me and said, "Watch that one...and get his name."
This is where floorball grows - when kids try it out. It's so easy, inexpensive, safe, and FUN. Kids naturally gravitate to it - very few that saw it turned down the opportunity to play. We had 12 or 13 sheets of names when it was all done, and went home tired but happy that so many saw the game and found out about floorball and the NAFL.
Now the next step is our instructional clinic on the first Saturday in June. We hope to fill our divisions (30 per bracket, except the youngest is maxed at 20) so we can continue to grow the sport and begin to train new players. A youth tournament just took place in Orlando last month. Another national tournament (the California Cup) will take place in Fresno, CA this Saturday. There's a tournament in Utah in June. COVID and US Border Control permitting, the NAFL begins play in only four and a half weeks.
It's an exciting time for floorball in America. While we didn't qualify for the U19 Men's World Floorball Championships in 2021 due to COVID restrictions, we're excited to begin preparing for 2023 in Denmark. Also, the World Games will be in Birmingham, AL next summer - and floorball is on the program, with Team USA as the host nation!
We'd love to have you join us in growing our awesome sport! Follow us on social and come on out to join us at our June 5 camp, or at our next Speedway demo during the NASCAR All-Star Race Weekend at Texas Motor Speedway on June 12-13. We'll also be hosting a couple of day camps this summer, and along with the North Texas Floorball Association, we'll have teen and adult leagues running throughout the year.
Come join us - you'll get hooked as much as we are!