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Playing as exchange student in China: “Impressed by the level of some younger players.”

A look at the Chinese league and it’s development by Pieter-Jan Maekelbergh, Pixbo’s Star Camp manager. What does he think about the Oriental floorball league and the future of floorball in the Asian country?

Can you briefly introduce yourself and your floorball history?

My name is Pieter-Jan Maekelbergh. I come from Belgium and have played floorball since I was six years old. Back in Belgium, I played for Juventus Affligem, with whom I won several cups and national titles. I also played for the Belgian National Team for 6 years. Last year I moved to Göteborg in Sweden where I play for Burås IK and became the manager for Star Camp, one of the biggest floorball summer camps in the world organized by Pixbo Wallenstam.

How did you get to China and what are you doing here? 

Besides my job for Star Camp, I am also a master student in Business at the University of Göteborg. Within this program, I got the opportunity to study for a semester at Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, which was the nr 1 on my preference list.

What is your view of the local floorball and your involvement?

It is way bigger than I expected! The other day I saw a small kid walking with a floorball stick on the subway in the city center, very nice to see! When playing in the league here, I am impressed by the level of some younger players.

Personally, I think that the key to success will be the coordination of the various initiatives in China to develop the sport (as there are a lot). In my opinion, a central development plan might be the biggest need in general for growing floorball countries as China, I see the same situation in Belgium as well.

With common ground, no doubt that the future for floorball in China looks bright as there are lots of engaged people that are working hard to make the sport grow here.

In my role as Star Camp manager, it is important to explore ways where a summer camp as ours can contribute to floorball development in China. Next week I will be one of the instructors at a floorball seminar in Beijing. It is a good opportunity to share thoughts on how we approach our training for kids at Star Camp and why it is important not to forget that kids should enjoy playing the sport in the first place (besides the of course needed tactical and technical floorball skills development). When the kids have fun, it is great, if not the best marketing possible for our sport.

What team are you playing for and how did you get in contact with them? How would you describe the team?

I am playing for FCP in the Oriental league. I got in contact with them trough Kasper Abildgaard, a player in the highest Danish league. We met at University and became good friends. This is also a benefit on the field since we have a good connection and our line finds the net pretty easily. I think the most interesting about FCP is the mix of internationals, mainly Czech players, and Chinese players. I very much like this mix as it contributes a lot to the development of Chinese players as well. Also, we have not lost a single game this season so far and I like to believe the team can end up high in the league.

For those who would like to come to China and join the Oriental floorball league, contact Michael Blazik.

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