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New Zealand hosts World Championship Event for floorball

28 January 2014

New Zealand hosts World Championship Event for “fast and furious” floorball

New Zealand is hosting the APAC World Floorball Championships Qualification for the very first time from 29 January through 2 February 2014 – and for the first time ever, the New Zealand team is in with a chance to make it through to the World Champs finals.

This exciting event will take place at the ASB Sports Centre, Kilbirnie, Wellington. Teams from New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Japan and South Korea will battle it out on the rink.

The top three teams will go on to play in the World Cup Finals in Gothenburg, Sweden from 5- 14 December 2014.

Floorball is a type of hockey played indoors with plastic sticks and a light weight plastic ball with holes. This fast and furious sport has few rules and is rapidly growing in popularity in New Zealand.

The 20 player strong New Zealand team includes players from Wellington, Otago, Auckland and Sweden, with the player’s age ranging from 16 to 48 years.

The team is rated strongly, and has the potential to perform in the top three. If it does, it will be the first time a New Zealand team has qualifies for the World Floorball Championships Finals.

The New Zealand team features 28 year old Lewis Taiapa, from Wainuiomata. Lewis started playing Floorball less than a year ago, as a social sport with team mates from his Inline Hockey Club. He has played Inline Hockey since he was 12 years old and has been representing New Zealand for several years, including captaining the New Zealand team at World Inline Hockey Championships overseas.

Another Wellington player on the team is Christian Bertschinger, who has played Floorball since he was a child, growing up in Switzerland where Floorball is one of the most popular team sports. Christian moved to New Zealand with his family about nine years ago and has helped to set upFloorball in Wellington.

“Seeing Floorball grow so fast here is very exciting. We get a lot of kids playing and they absolutely love it. Floorball is fun and fast and as the court is fully enclosed, the game hardly stops, so all the players are always fully involved in the game.”

Christian sees the development of Junior Floorball as the key to have competitive New Zealand teams in the future. “We have some very talented young players coming up and as much as I love to play myself, the next generation already puts us older guys under pressure, which is absolutely fantastic to raise the level of the sport”.

Floorball was first introduced in New Zealand in 2008 and has since won an incredible popularity at all age levels. Wellington has currently around 800 active players across all age groups. Other clubs and groups are located in Auckland, Tauranga, Christchurch, Palmerston North, Upper Hutt,Queenstown and University of Otago.

Games for the World Floorball Championship Qualification are played over 5 days at the ASB indoor stadium in Kilbirnie. This will be an incredible opportunity to see highly-skilled players in a sport that has quickly become popular in New Zealand.

About the World Championship Event
Where: ASB Indoor Sports Stadium, 72 Kemp Street, Kilbirnie, Wellington
When: 29 January – 2 February, 2014
Game times:
29.1. 18:30 Opening Ceremony with Japan – New Zealand straight afterwards at 19:00
30.1. 16:00 Singapore – Japan (two top ranked teams)
30.1. 19:00 New Zealand – Australia
1.2. 18:00 Singapore – New Zealand
2.2. 15:00 New Zealand - Korea

About Floorball
Floorball is a fast growing type of hockey played indoors with "plastic" sticks and a light weight plastic ball with holes. In New Zealand the sport is also known as unihoc or unihockey and sometimes played in schools.

Typically five field players and a goalkeeper (without a stick) play on a fully enclosed rink. The goals are set in so play continues behind the goal-line, similar to ice hockey. Floorball is a safe, fast and fun sport and easy for people to pick up as other than a stick, no protective gear is required. There are few rules, mainly to make it a safe sport for everyone.

The sport was developed in the 1970s. It first appeared in Scandinavia and central Europe, and is now being played worldwide. It is played professionally in Europe and World Championships are held every two years. Sweden is the current World Champion in both the men’s and women’s divisions.

The International Floorball Federation (IFF) was founded in 1986, and now has 50 member countries, and 300,000 licensed players and a total of 2 million recreational players in the world.

Floorball is one of the fastest growing team sports internationally and the International FloorballFederation is working towards inclusion of the sport in the Olympic Games in the near future.

Floorball has received full recognition with the IOC.

About Floorball New Zealand
Floorball New Zealand (www.floorball.org.nz) was set up in 2009 as the National Sports Organisation for Floorball.

Floorball NZ received full membership with the International Floorball Federation IFF in December 2010 and is also a full member of the Asia Oceania Floorball Confederation AOFC. Since 2012.Floorball New Zealand has been represented on the Central Board of AOFC.

In 2012 Floorball was accepted by the New Zealand Olympic Committee as an Associate Member.

ENDS

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