Angus Stallmann is a floorball player from New Zealand. In a new blog series, he’d like to introduce us to the world of floorball in New Zealand!
(A short) History
Floorball in New Zealand is a young and fast-growing sport. Floorball in New Zealand had a short-lived period of growth in the early 2000s, centred in Dunedin, a small city in New Zealand’s South Island. Initial attempts to grow floorball went as far as the founding of the New Zealand Floorball Association in 2001, but this organisation dissolved in 2004.
After these early efforts, there were floorball sessions in Wellington, our capital city, and Blenheim, a small town at the top of the South Island, in 2008, and Auckland, our largest city, in 2009. These sessions were often run by European-New Zealanders, who played floorball in their home countries before they immigrated to New Zealand.
Floorball (in New Zealand) Today
There are now as many as a dozen clubs in New Zealand, and New Zealand has become a regular competitor at international events. In 2011, we participated in our first international tournament, the Asia Pacific Floorball Championship.
We now regularly send men’s, women’s, u19 men’s and u19 women’s to world cup qualifiers.
- In 2014, we hosted the Men’s World Championship Qualifiers for the Asia-Oceania Floorball Confederation. It was our first ever WFCQ tournament. Also, our first u19 men’s team competed at a WFCQ event.
- In 2015 we sent our first women’s team to a qualifiers.
- In 2018, our u19 women’s team were the first New Zealand team to compete at a world championship. Also, our u19 men’s team were the first New Zealand team to qualify for a world championship.
Our international competitiveness is improving, and so are our domestic competitions. Floorball is now played in cities throughout New Zealand, though it is currently too small and amateur for a national league. However, in 2016 and 2017, there was an intercity league between Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, and Wellington U19, where games were played three times a year, concurrent with each city’s Open.
Opens are an important part of floorball in New Zealand. There are several Open competitions in New Zealand each year, held by clubs in different cities. Opens are two or three day competitions held over weekends. They are open to mixed-age and mixed-sex teams. Teams can be from registered clubs or made up of individuals, with several clubs normally making the journey to each competition.
The Wellington Open is longest running and biggest Open in New Zealand. The first tournament was played in October 2008, with three teams participating. In the last 11 years of the Open there have been participants and winners from all over New Zealand, as well as internationally from Australia and Singapore. In 2019, there were 39 teams split across five grades – elite, open, u15, u13 and u11.
Wellington is also the region with the largest floorball community in the country. In the Wellington region, there are three clubs – Wellington Storm, Upper Hutt, and Lower Hutt. Of these clubs, Wellington Storm is the oldest, the largest and the host of the Open.
I am a member of Wellington Storm. It was founded in April 2009 and has undergone significant growth over the last decade. To give you an idea of our size, we have around 60 registered adult players, almost 200 registered junior players, and a large number of non-registered players, who play socially.
Wellington Storm has always been focused on having a family atmosphere, fostering a welcoming, safe, friendly and supportive environment. We are very focused on child and youth development, with mixed-aged and mixed-sex teams at all levels of our club competitions.
Floorball in Wellington, as with any developing sport, is undergoing constant changes. Currently, Wellington Storm runs three competitions on Sunday afternoons/nights, which are collectively known as “Sunday league”.
The highest level of competition is the Wellington Floorball League. The WFL is currently divided into two grades, WFL A and WFL B. WFL A is our top competitive league for best players in the region. WFL B is a competitive competition with a mixture of older and developing players. Games are 3×15 minutes with effective time. Referees and game officials are volunteers and usually players themselves.
Wellington Storm runs two other grades – social-competitive and social mates.
Social-competitive is an open intermediate grade with players of a wide range of age and ability. There can be no more than 5 players per team who also play in a WFL team. This is a grade for semi-serious competition, where new players and young players can develop their skills playing alongside higher level players. Games are 2×15 minutes without stoppage time.
Social mates is the largest grade in Sunday league. There are wide range of players of all ages (for children to play they must be at least in year 7 at school – around 11 years old), and abilities. This grade is popular with social players, family teams (sometimes with three generations of a family together in one team!) and new players. There are a maximum two WFL players per team, and they are restricted from scoring. This means that WFL players can play socially with friends and family, without deciding the game. Games are 2×15 minutes without stoppage time.
In Wellington, there are also primary school (mostly age 5-12) and secondary school (mostly aged 13-18) leagues that Wellington Storm members help to run. The Wellington primary school league is the largest floorball competition in New Zealand.
So there you have it. That’s a broad introduction to floorball in New Zealand, particular in Wellington, our floorball hub.
In the future I would like you to get to know floorball in New Zealand better. I would like cover a range of topics including: Floorball New Zealand and our national teams, Opens in New Zealand, the Wellington Open, Wellington Storm floorball club, our foreign exchanges with Switzerland, Sweden and Germany, the Wellington Floorball League, and our youth development, including trainings and school leagues.
Thanks for reading!
If you have any questions to Angus, please let us know. Stay tuned for his next blog posts!