9 December 2019
WFC 2019

Meet WFC commentator Olly: “The floorball family has been so welcoming to me”

If you have watched any of the bigger IFF events in the last two years, chances are you have listened to Olly Hogben’s voice at least once. The enthusiastic sports commentator fell in love with floorball during The World Games 2017 and has since then been an ambassador for the sports introducing thousands of people to floorball. Time for a long interview with him, right before the WFC! We talk about how it all started, if he has a favorite country and what we can expect during WFC2019.

We split the interview in two parts. This second part is available exclusively for those who support us with a small monthly donation which makes all the work we do at FloorballToday possible – for now and in the future. We would be very appreciative if you could become a supporter too and make FloorballToday possible.

But now it’s time for part 1!

How did you get into contact with our sport and become a vocal ambassador as well as a commentator for it?

It all goes back to the World Games in Poland in 2017; I had seen floorball before and really thought it looked fantastic. I’d had some conversations with the IFF earlier in the year about potentially commentating for them at some point in the future, and when I was contracted by the Olympic Channel to do the World Games I expressed an interest in doing some floorball commentary if my schedule for gymnastics (my main sport) allowed it.

Fortunately, there was an opportunity for me to do the two medal matches, and after this, the IFF asked me if I would do the World Floorball Championships in Bratislava. I think I was asked by the Olympic Channel to do the floorball at TWG because I had previously commentated on lacrosse and survived the experience!

“You never forget your first gold-medal match, so Sweden v Switzerland at the World Games has stayed with me.”

They knew that the commentator for floorball had to be able to handle the pace of the game!  So that’s how I started, and it’s been one of the highlights of my year ever since; I love knowing that the year will end with the World Floorball Championships.  And it’s great that you think I’m a vocal ambassador for the sport – I suppose I just really love it and enjoy introducing it to people.

I’m kind of astonished that a guy with no history in the sport from Great Britain has been trusted to commentate on the World Championships every year!  The floorball family has been so welcoming to me – fans, players, coaches, journalists – and I really appreciate such a friendly and positive reaction.

Do you have a favorite country?

Hahahaha!  Absolutely not… and even if I did I would never answer this question!  No, to be totally serious, when you’re a commentator it’s your job to remain strictly neutral and you must not have your own feelings about who you want to win. 

Genuinely, all that matters to me is that a contest is fair and competitive, and who wins is none of my business.  If the match is a good one, then it’s good for the sport; that’s the most critical thing.  As a commentator, what I love to see is a close and dramatic match; I love a penalty shootout, or an overtime golden goal, or a last-second equalizer.  It’s much easier to commentate a 5-4 match than a 9-0 match because there is so much more drama. 

I think that the best way to put it is to say that I love stories, not teams… although I would obviously be delighted one day if Great Britain made it to the WFC!

Do you have a favorite floorball moment or match of the past years?

Well, you never forget your first gold-medal match, so Sweden v Switzerland at the World Games has stayed with me.  I think that’s partly because it was very close, but also because I was so honored to be commentating on such a big moment for the sport.  The Sweden v Switzerland match from the last men’s World Championships was also incredibly tense, and I was exhausted after it.  And I’d also say that the final from 2017 was a superb match – so close.  But one thing that’s slightly strange about me is that I can never remember anything that I’ve said on commentary after the match has finished; people will say to me ‘I really loved that line you said when [x] happened’ and I won’t have a clue what they’re talking about!

What can we expect from you in the upcoming WFC?

I hope that what you can expect from me is passion, a sense of humor, love for the sport, and a continued effort to introduce new viewers to it.  That’s something I take really seriously; we have to remember that lots of people at every World Championships watch floorball for the first time, and I want to get them hooked!  In the group stage, I’m going to be doing three matches a day as part of my effort to make sure that every team gets covered.  When we get to the knockout stage of the competition I’ll be doing two matches a day, but perhaps occasionally there will be extra ones added if a TV company wants to show it with English commentary. 

And I really love to work with a co-commentator as often as possible, so I’ll be doing my best to force people to sit alongside me!  It really matters to me in particular that we get more women doing sports commentary; it’s so important to have a gender-balanced broadcast partnership, so I’ll be trying to make that happen too.  Oh, and please do say hello to me on the IFF YouTube channel or through my Twitter account, which is @OllyHogben; I’ll do my best to read out some of the comments during the matches.

In part 2 we find an extended look behind the scenes of how it is to commentate floorball.

  • How floorball sport differs from other sports in commentating
  • How he prepares for matches
  • Hardest moments as a floorball commentator.

Go there now!

 

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