This interview is done with Telmen Tsogtbaatar, a Czech-French youngster who plays in France for Caen Floorball . He gives us a view into the French floorball world.
How does the French league work?
There are 3 divisions (Nationale 1, Nationale 2 and Division 3), 1 division for women and 1 for young player who are under 16 years. In the Division 3 most teams are mixed. With Caen Floorball, I play in Nationale 1 (the highest league). There are 12 teams, divided into 2 groups of 6 teams. The regular season begins at the end of September/the beginning of October. We play 16 games – every team plays twice against the clubs of the same group and 1 time against the clubs of the other group.
The regular season ends in April. The first two of each group qualify directly into semi-finals. The first of the group A plays against the second of the other group and vice versa, then the 2 winners play the final in May.
Which team won last year?
Last year it was IFK Paris who won the French league. It’s their 6th title.
Do you see your team as future champions?
Yes, of course haha! We have great players and we’re working hard to improve our game and especially our minds. Last year we finished 3rd in our group and failed to qualify into the semi-finals due to errors that we have made during the season.
“Almost every year there is a new club created or a new team enrolled in the division.”
How would you compare your experiences from Czech Republic to those from France?
Like I said, there is a huge difference between French floorball and Czech floorball. However, in Czech Republic I played when I was a little boy so it’s difficult to compare these experiences with my experiences from France. I learned many things at a young age, and now I can return some of them to the young people from here who learn how to play floorball. Meanwhile, I’m still learning too.
How many foreign players are there in France and what nations are represented most?
There are lot of foreign players, I don’t know how many exactly. There are players from Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Canada and Latvia. I surely forgot some nations but there are many different nations, but the most of them come from Sweden, Switzerland and Czech Republic.
Do you organize non-league tournaments?
Yes of course! Every year after the regular season and before the next season begins, there are many different tournaments. There are tournaments only for the young, for women and also for everyone. There is Spring Cup organized by Rouen Floorball, F.I.S.T. (Floorball Inside Summer Tours) in Tours and many others.
Would you say that floorball is popular in France?
I wouldn’t say that it’s very popular, it’s because the France Floorball Federation isn’t recognized by the Ministry and also the people who work there are just volunteers. Most of the time children aren’t very excited by floorball and prefer to play football or handball, so it’s little bit difficult to be a very popular sport in France. However, it’s beginning to be more and more known: almost every year there is a new club created or a new team enrolled in the division.
Will floorball become more popular in future?
I have no doubt about that, we just need some time.
Once you told me how the national team in France works, would you tell it to our readers?
There are sessions with training and games, the coach and the staff choose the best players, but the problem is that after the players pay by themselves everything (sessions, hotel, transport, etc.). So, when they go to WQFC they pay everything, because of that some players don’t want to play in French National team. In the end, the coach and the staff take the players who have determination and can pay the travel expenses. So unfortunately, it’s not necessarily the best players who go to WQFC every time.
What you do to improve yourself?
I practice in my free time, I run sometimes and do some physic exercises. Also, last July I went to Prague to the Floorball Camp where it was Michal Jedlicka alias “Bedla” who prepared the trainings with other players from Bohemians.
Any advices for anybody who would want to go to France?
The French floorball is a very big and united family, so if you want to come here, don’t hesitate and come to enlarge our family! The people are very welcoming, and every city has their own traditions and is unique.
Do you miss Czech Republic? And Czech floorball?
Yes, I miss Czech, the landscape, people and especially the gastronomy! And yes, I miss the Czech floorball too, my friends with whom I played. The Czech floorball is on another level to the French floorball.