It wasn’t too long ago that we were crammed in to a small sports hall at Sevenoaks Senior College in Cannington. It was a hardwood floor with no rink, that much dust you’d think it’s on ice, a leaky roof when it rained outside, no space around the edges and not much passing off the walls in case the ball would get caught in the soccer nets or door recesses. I think that was it?
Social Floorball at Sevenoaks
Not much bodying against the sides otherwise you’d likely end up face-first in to the wall (Liam Pascoe is all too familiar with this).
Sevenoaks was where we made our initial ‘break’ as a club (2014-15 Season), the only training venue that was available on short notice after having called over 20 schools south of the river. Training was for just one team at the time; our Division A team consisting of Men and Women before the competition split in to a Mens and Womens league structure (a great step in the right direction, promoting overall growth of the competition and alignment to international structures).
Pre- and Post-Wolves we’ve trained in many places wherever court time was available. Unfortunately you end up driving a lot more than other sports to find a court that can cater for Floorball in its best capacity.
What would the ideal Floorball venue be?
Ok let’s be a little more realistic, In my opinion:
- Accommodate a full size rink, (40×20 metres) and generally requires booking 3 basketball courts to set up across all 3. Trainings and social games will often be a single basketball court for reduced court costs.
- Storage facilities for rinks, goals and other equipment (you’d be surprised how hard this is).
- Synthetic surface similar to Gerflor, how the sport is played internationally. Wooden surfaces are more common across sporting stadiums here, but hopefully we see a rise in synthetic surfaces, it’s completely different to play on.
- Air conditioning as whilst it’s a Winter sport in Sweden, we play it during Summer to minimise conflict with other hockey sports. In venues with only passive cooling it can be a sauna in Summer!
- Seating, plenty of seating, nothing worse than being able to fit a full-size rink but have no seating for spectators.
- I could go on about change rooms for home and away teams, massive score boards, sports bar with seating, entertainment screens, but I’d be dreaming. One day if we win lotto?
A bit of Wolves History
In our second year (2015-16 Season) we doubled in size through a lot of help of our players. Training was still at Sevenoaks to keep costs down and the sport affordable, except now trying to cram 2 teams inside a small venue, we made it work.
After another season and another year of growth through our committed players (2016-17 Season), we found ourselves doubling in size again to 4 teams and it was obvious Sevenoaks just wouldn’t cut it. Where the hell will we train!? Were my thoughts after the difficulty in finding Sevenoaks to begin with.
Quality court surface at Sevenoaks
In desperation, John XXIII College used by other clubs had a court available (with a rink!) but required most our players to drive further. We found balance with John XXIII on a Tuesday night (Division 1 & Division 2) and Sevenoaks on a Wednesday night (Division 3 & Womens) for most trainings, swapping nights to share the opportunity to train with a rink, as it was previously a rarity.
Division 1 & 2 training at John XXIII College
Engagement by Floorball WA with the Cannington Leisureplex, located right next door to Sevenoaks, paved the way for us to transition to our own court with a rink (several rinks procured by Floorball WA as part of the states growth, where the Leisureplex was able to store one). We held a Demonstration Game in December 2016, to show the Sports Coordinator how a social game could be set up for the proposed Monday Night Social Floorball Competition.
Through building a relationship with the Leisureplex we were able to access 2.5 hours of court time on a Thursday night, consolidating our previous Tuesday and Wednesday trainings to the one night. It was only a single basketball court (32×16 metre court size), but it had storage for a rink and goals and could accommodate all our teams, a lot more manageable for us all.
Single Basketball Court at Cannington Leisureplex
The 2017/18 Season lead us to Lumen Christi College. We had inspected the floor a few years ago but it was in a state of disrepair. The floor has since been replaced (some new damage but we can work with that) and we’re able to access now 3 hours of court time on a Wednesday night. This venue has a synthetic floor, can store a rink and goals, has an electronic scoreboard, raised mezzanine for awesome viewing, and better yet, can fit a full size rink! Getting close to how Floorball is truly played. Plenty of space around the boards so we can actually get some body happening!
Full court example at Lumen Christi
Unfortunately in Floorball we find ourselves travelling a lot more than other sports; the pursuit to find a venue where we can play floorball at its fullest as part of Summer League training. Floorball is very different in nature when compared to your local clubs playing at your local oval or sports centre. One day as the sport becomes more popular we may see more facilities which can cater for requirements above.
Social level Floorball has a completely different set of requirements, which can be comfortably played on a smaller court and accommodated by a lot more venues. Our transition to Lumen Christi is to support more game-like trainings at the intensity required for the Summer League, but we may find ourselves returning to smaller venues during the off-season to continue the promotion and growth of the sport and club.