Finnish Sports: Floorball a.k.a Salibandy
November has settled in and the weather is not super cheerful all the time. No worries, there’s a lot to do indoors. One of the most common hobby is to play Floorball or in Finnish “Salibandy”. The game was invented in Sweden in 1960s and 1970s and it became well-known in Finland during the 1990s. Floorball World Championship Tournaments have been arranged every second year since 1996. Sweden won all the tournaments until 2008 and 2010, when it was our time to shine. I will always remember the atmosphere inside Hartwall Areena in 2010, when we beat Sweden in the finals. Everybody was cheering, shouting and jumping of joy when the captain of the Finnish Team, Mika Kohonen lifted the trophy. He is probably the most known floorball player and voted best of the world in 2005, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
The game resembles indoor hockey without skates. The main difference is that Salibandy is not tackle sport and all you need are indoor shoes, a stick and a ball. Counting the participants, floorball is the most popular sport in Finland. Men, Women, boys and girls play the game. It is also very common sport to play as a recreational activity in working places. There are some serious and mostly not-so-serious tournaments arranged all the time, especially in the Helsinki region. If you want to give it a try you can join Jolly Dragon’s floorball shift on Sundays at 15:00 in Merihaan Palloiluhalli. You just need to have sporty outfit and if you don’t have a stick you can rent it at the Venue. Jolly Dragon is our partner and organizes a lot of social and sport related events in Helsinki to which everybody is welcome.
Floorball is rather simple and if you have experience in any other team sport you will learn it quickly. The main idea is to score more goals than the other team. There are knee-high boards around the field which you can use to bounce the ball. There is no offside in the game. You are not allowed to play the ball with your hands or head, but you can kick it. You cannot play the ball with the stick higher than knee-level, and not when laying on the ground. Jumping up to catch the ball with your body or your stick is not allowed neither. These are the rules, now go and play!
Written by Jouko Väärälä