Rapid growth in the last three years is what you could call the situation with floorball in China. Back in 2016, there were only several floorball groups and no regular competitions. Now in 2019, regular youth competitions are taking place, youth teams are popping up in Shanghai and other parts of China and the men’s Oriental cup league is in its third season. In this article we will have a closer look at all that’s happening in China. In two upcoming articles, we will interview two students who have taken the big leap to China and are currently enjoying playing in China’s league!
Almost not a weekend passes by without any youth floorball games in Shanghai or in the nearby provinces. And not only this part of Shanghai is active, but also Beijing or Chengdu are having their share of floorball. At the end of October Chengdu organized its first youth floorball tournament. A lot of floorball development is expected from this city as it will host The World Games 2025, decided earlier this year.
The men’s league has been probably the biggest driver of the growth in the last years. It has painted the way for other competitions to follow the long-term format, league table, and statistics. Things that haven’t been very common in China. The first two years only Chinese teams have been allowed to compete in the league with a limited number of foreigners (2 on the court for each team at the same time) but now with the level of the players developing local expats and foreign exchange students have been able to sign up their own teams. This has been a major breakthrough as the level of the game jumped much higher than before. It has led the best Chinese players to unite in one team, Wolves, to be competitive against the foreign powerhouses.
The Wolves team is also the backbone of the future Chinese national team that will hopefully soon start joining international events in Asia and worldwide. Also, a new team aimed to develop the future of Chinese floorball has been signed in the league to join the other 8 teams and it stars under the name LZD which is, in fact, the U19 national team. The champion is decided in the play-offs with the finals played in front of a decent crowd of around 500 spectators, mainly young floorball players.
„It’s exciting to be part of this development. I’m really happy that we are getting foreign players in the league, especially foreign exchange students that have played on quite a high level back in their countries. I hope more floorball players would seek the opportunity to come to study in Shanghai and become the local floorball stars.“ Says Michael Blazik, one of the people who set the foundations of the Oriental floorball league.
„I’m now in talks with the Czech floorball association to launch a project to actually promote floorball players that study university to go on an exchange to Shanghai and get involved in the floorball league, but if students from any other country want to join this adventure, they are welcome to contact me and we can make it happen.“ Concludes the Czech floorball missionary.
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Currently, after a few rounds, the FCP team are the favorites for the title, but the Sharks, Hakkapelitat and also the Wolves are striving to win the trophy. Plus the black horse of the competition is the Sports university team, SUS Flying Eagle, the team that has been making the most progress. So who will take the Oriental league cup in the end? We have to wait till June to get that answer.
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