If someone asks you to name a superpower in floorball, you might think of Storvreta, Falun, or perhaps Finnish mashup team EräViikingit. But if you go back in time to the 1990’s and early 2000’s the answer would probably have been Balrog Oilers. This article was written in September of last year.
Balrog Oilers history takes us way back to the earlier days of floorball, to 1984 when the club was founded. The name Balrog Oilers was inspired by two things – Balrog, which is a creature in J.R.R Tolkien’s Lord of the Ring – and Oilers, inspired by the NHL team Edmonton Oilers.
Stockholm’s new super team climbed their way up the divisions quickly and already six years after their inception they had made it to the top league in Sweden – but they wouldn’t stop there.
Balrog gained huge commercial success. In 1991 they made a TV commercial with Nike, something that was completely new to floorball. Most teams could only dream of having a sponsor like Nike back then.
People loved watching the Oilers. They pulled the best attendance numbers with over 1000 people per game which were considered huge numbers in floorball at that time – and would still today rank amongst the best in the Sweden. In the 90’s they were chosen as the best entertainers in Stockholm. Also in the widely popular sports magazine ‘’Buster’’ Balrog made it to the cover, a place usually taken only by the world’s most famous athletes.
Something that made Balrog so unique was their attitude and image, which was somewhat NBA-inspired. Instead of using traditional white shoes they used black ones with orange stripes on the back. They also used sweatbands and other accessories from their sponsors Nike and Rehband.
Balrog has had significant success both on the men’s and the women’s team. They have become Swedish champions eight times and European champions six times. They have had world class players like Thomas Brottman, Christian Hellström, Hannes Öhman and Mika Kohonen – who in 2000/2001 broke the record for most points scored in one season with a total of 107 (!) points, playoff not counted.
In 2010 it was announced that the women’s team no longer would belong to Balrog. Instead, it would be Djurgådens IF. Following year the men relegated down to Allsvenskan after 20 seasons in the top league. Balrog had a tough season with few spectators and only won two games. Star players like Kohonen and Öhman had left the club, and Balrog was no longer what it used to be.
Even in Allsvenskan, the struggles would continue, and in the spring of 2016 the team relegated once more. Djurgården had some successful seasons but declared that they would not play in the Swedish Superliga season 2015/2016 due to economical issues. Instead, they started over from the beginning and played their previous season in the 4th division.
From a floorball giant with world class players, big sponsor, huge interest and attendance – the Balrog we see today is only a shadow of what it used to be. Coming season their only team will be playing in the third highest league in Sweden. However, the history of the club remains, and who knows what the future offers – maybe one day we will see Balrog at the top once again.
This story was written in September of last year.