Canada’s National Men’s Floorball Team is headed to the world championships tournament in Helsinki, Finland, and five players representing the Cambridge Floorball Club. are on the roster.
Patrick Mahoney, Tyler Snyder, Jonathan Kuysten, and brothers Tyler and Mytchell Brush are getting ready to play on behalf of their country.
For Kuysten and the Brush brothers, this isn’t their first time on the world stage.
Kuysten, flew to Finland early to begin training and spoke to CTV news via Zoom. He says the sport of Floorball is a big deal in European and especially Scandinavian countries where hockey is king,
“Myself and a few other guys have trained in Sweden in past years, and the tempo and the skill of the league is really high here,” said Kuysten.
But despite Canada’s vast talent in the sport, it remains a lesser known activity here at home.
Mahoney and Snyder will be representing Canada for the first time. Neither started playing the niche sport until their late teens or early 20s.
“I think the thing that attracts me most to the sport is just the mix of hockey and ball hockey because I did play both a lot through high school,” said Mahoney.
Snyder says he never imaged the sport he played for fun in an adult rec league would lead him to becoming a national team member.
“I just thought it would kind of be cool to do something like this, so that’s the reason I got back into it,” he said.
Most Floorball players have a background in hockey, floor hockey, or soccer.Floorball is played on either a faux grass or a hardwood floor wearing sneakers. It involves a whiffle ball and a perforated stick. The goalies’ only equipment is their mask, they use their hands to save balls, and it’s a contact-freesport.
“Playing travel hockey all growing up, the constant battering on your body and your head, we both struggled with a couple concussions in our careers. Floorball is not like that at all,” said Mytchell Brush while sitting next to his brother in the Czech Republic and speaking to CTV News via Zoom. “It’s like a nice combination of soccer and hockey.”
Mytchell is visiting his brother Tyler and training with him ahead of worlds. Tyler plays for a semi-pro club league in the Czech Republic.
“For our games here in Chomutov we get 150-200 people out every night to come and watch. We’ve got the media following us around interviewing us, stuff like that. It’s just on a whole other level here,” said Tyler.
President of Floorball Canada Randy Saad says he’s hoping the talented Canadian Team will help put the sport on the map at home.
“It’s only really over the last 10 years or so that it has become more popular both in schools as well as in hockey circles,” he said.
Saad is based in Cambridge and has seen popularity grow here as well as across the county.
“Hockey Canada, maybe five or seven years ago, made it their official school sport and have used it as a dry-land training tool for high performance athletes in their skills academy,” he said.
The International Olympic Committee has also taken note, and some enthusiasts are hoping the sport may make its first appearance in the next couple of years.
“Being that it has become so international,” Saad added.
Canada does not have a women’s team in this year’s championships. The men’s tournament, hosted by the International Floorball Federation starts Dec. 4.
Last year, Team Canada finished 11th, their best place to date.
“Believe it or not, we’re the best non-European country,” said Kuysten. “This year we are trying to aim for the top 10.”
Back home, the Cambridge Floorball Club is always recruiting more players on an ongoing bases.
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