David Crawford has been a passionate advocate of Floorball since 2014. He’s working on building floorball bigger in the United States. Here’s his first blog on FloorballToday!
Each year the United States Floorball Association hosts the US Nationals Floorball Tournament. This year the tournament was hosted in San Jose, CA at the Silver Creek SportsPlex. The US Nationals Tournament is also paired with a US National Team training camp. Floorball in the US is in development and, as such, there are limited opportunities for players to receive instruction and be evaluated by National Team coaches. For the long term development of the USA program, these development camps have become a vital resource for players and coaches. At the same time, it’s a great way to bring the Floorball community together for a common goal. I was fortunate to be able to attend the development camp, and join a mixed state team for the competition that included players from Colorado, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin (nicknamed Texarodo).
Coach Stefan Hedlund at the Friday training
This year the Coaches from the USA Men’s Floorball team (Stefan Hedlund, and Joel Olofsson); and USA Men’s Floorball player and MVP for the US at the World Floorball Championships (Robin Brown) were there to train and teach prospective players. 25 players of both genders and a variety of ages from around the country attended the training session on a Friday afternoon and evening. Training was broken into several session focused on individual skill development and ultimately scrimmages. However, a significant amount of time was spent in the classroom listening and learning from the coaches. While many would likely prefer to be on the court, the time spent in the classroom was valuable. Head Coach Stefan Hedlund covered a variety of tactical situations and scenarios. Players also learned more specifics related to statistical data in floorball. The information on and off the court was vital to the education and development of the US players. After a full day of training, players went back to their hotels to prepare for the weekend tournament.
Start of the Nationals
The US Nationals Tournament had eight teams from Reno, Menlo Park, San Francisco, San Jose, a mixed team with players from Colorado, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin, and an all-women’s team. In the US some states are further ahead in floorball than others. California has a variety of teams and leagues that have set up and been around for a number of years. While there is a European influence within many clubs, more and more American’s are getting involved with Floorball. As the tournament started it was quite clear where teams were. Some have been playing together for years, while others were cobbled together to form a team, but hadn’t ever played as a group. The favorite to win the tournament was Menlo Park, CA; which fielded two teams for the competition. Menlo Park’s team has been a dominant force winning the last three US Nationals and swept through the first day undefeated.
Second day full of surprises
I’ve been in many sporting events and tournaments. What I love about sports is that it can be unpredictable. Going into the second day of competition everyone was focused on getting to the finals. As the day progressed into the semi-final rounds two upsets occurred. The team from Los Angeles beat out San Francisco in a tight contest to advance to the finals. What came next, during SF2, surprised everyone, and was by far the most entertaining game of the tournament. Texarodo was able to surprise everyone by beating the top team Menlo Park in stunning fashion. While the entire game went back and forth it ultimately came down to the end. With under 30 seconds to play Menlo Park received back to back penalties. With a free hit awarded Texarodo pulled their goalie going up 6-3 on field players and down 3-2. Texarodo was able to score the tying goal forcing overtime. While still on the power play in overtime Texarodo was able to sustain their momentum scoring the golden goal to upset Menlo Park. Needless to say, the Final between LA and Texarodo was a close game and in the end, LA came out on top as the winner of the US Nationals tournament. With the close of the tournament new friends were made, lessons learned; and hopefully, as players head back to their respective states and clubs we were able to push Floorball that much further forward in the US.
As we move forward we look to next year’s event, and in that time as a floorball community, we’re hoping to keep growing. As more and more people around the country get involved we’ll likely begin to see more teams and states participate in the US Nationals. Who knows, maybe we’ll be able to draw clubs and teams from other countries to join us in development and competition. What’s done for the common good is done for all. One ball, one world. Floorball.
Find more on David Crawford’s FloorballGuru website!