World Cup Floorball Action Coming To Wellington
The high-paced speed and excitement of international floorball is coming to Wellington’s ASB Sports Centre later this month, with three teams from the Asia-Oceania Region competing for two coveted spots at the 2019 U19 Men’s World Cup in Halifax, Canada.
Wellington-area colleges will be well represented on Team New Zealand, with 16 of the 20 player roster currently attending area schools. Team New Zealand will be taking on the U19 national teams from Australia and Japan. The stakes are high, with the top two teams earning places in the 2019 International Floorball Federation (IFF) U19 World Cup tournament in Halifax next year.
The Kiwis will take on Japan at 7pm on Friday September 28, and go up against Australia at 7pm on Saturday September 29. Japan will play Australia in the tournament opener at 7pm on Thursday September 27. Team NZ head coach Christian Bertschinger says the Kiwi boys are keen and confident, but they know the games will be tough and the team is hoping for some strong local support in the stands at the ASB as they fight for a spot in the World Cup next year.
“Our boys have been training hard and playing hard for more than six months getting ready to do their country proud and fight for one of those spots in the World Cup in Canada. We really want to maximise the home court advantage by getting as many loud local supporters in the crowd as possible. We’ve got boys from seven Wellington colleges playing for this team, and it will give our lads a big lift to see lots of their school mates, friends and families cheering them on in the stands.”
Christian says anyone coming along to the ASB can expect to be entertained with a great spectacle on the court. “If you’ve watched or played floorball before you’ll know that it’s a great, fast-paced and entertaining game. And if you haven’t seen it before, I can promise you won’t be disappointed. It’s fast, it’s intense and it’s a whole lot of fun to watch.”
For the uninitiated, floorball is a form of indoor ball hockey, played on a court with boards for continuous play. The tactics, speed and structure are similar to ice hockey – teams play with a goalie and five out players, with frequent line changes to keep the speed and intensity at a consistently high level. Floorball has a huge following in Europe, with professional leagues in many countries. It’s also widely played in Asia and North America, and is growing in popularity in New Zealand, with several hundred players of all ages competing in Wellington alone.
Tickets for the Asia-Oceania qualifying tournament are $10 for adults and $5 for students and children, with a single ticket valid for all three games. Tickets will soon be available for purchased on-line at www.floorballshop.co.nz, or can be purchased at the ASB Sports stadium on game days.
The schools below have boys playing for Team NZ:
Wellington High School
St Pats, Silverstream
St Pats, Wellington
Article and photos courtesy of Wellington Floorball