By Devin Jones
Floorball is coming back to Ryerson, as the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) will be hosting the Canada Cup Floorball Championships starting May 15.
Former University of Toronto student Juha Mikkola created the Canadian iteration of floorball during the early 2000s and since then the sport has rapidly gained popularity. This will be the third time the MAC hosts the championships and with the increasing recognition, the tournament will see close to 60 teams and over 1,000 players from around the world take part.
“Basically three years ago I wanted to take the game back to Toronto, back to its roots,” said co-chair of the tournament Balraj Jutla. “It was probably six years ago where we hit this threshold and then international communities and leagues began to take notice of what we were doing in Canada.”
A variation of floor hockey, floorball matches take place over three 20-minute periods and use a wiffle ball instead of the usual orange hard plastic ball seen in floor hockey. Players must use regulation sticks of 100-115.5 cm in length and a full team consists of five field players and a goalie.
The sport is organized internationally by the International Floorball Federation and contains 58 members including Finland, Sweden and Canada. While the sport is relatively new and evolving, basic rules have been established since 1979.
“For the past few years now, every time a big event is announced, we’ve seen the amount of teams taking part double,” said Jutla. “And as the word spreads we’ve noticed more and more people looking for ways to get involved, to find out more about the sport, which I couldn’t be happier about.”