New Zealand set to host World Cup of Floorball in 2022
18 December 2019
In a major coup for a minnow nation in the European-dominated sport of floorball, New Zealand has won the rights to host one of the sport’s marque international events.
The International Floorball Federation (IFF) has announced that Wellington will host the 2022 Women's U19 World Cup of Floorball, with all games to be played at the ASB Sports Centre from May 4-8, 2022.
Floorball NZ’s Christian Bertschinger says the successful bid to host the 2022 event in Wellington marks the first time an IFF World Cup will be held in the Southern Hemisphere, and is another boost for Women in Sport in New Zealand.
“It’s a huge accomplishment for New Zealand to secure the World Cup. It will be a fantastic event for Wellington, and it’s a great opportunity to grow our sport in New Zealand – and in particular to increase participation for girls and women.”
For the uninitiated, floorball is a fast and frenetic 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 substitutions 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.
The 2022 event will see Wellington play host to teams from 16 countries, including former World Champs Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic, as well as the Kiwi hosts and others from Asia, North American and Europe. Over 10,000 fans are expected to take in a total of 34 games over five days.
Bertschinger says hosting the World Cup has the potential to raise the fledgling sport to a new level in New Zealand.
“Floorball is still a young sport in New Zealand, but it’s growing rapidly. The speed and intensity of the game is very impressive, and people who give it a go quickly become proponents of the sport.
“The skill level on display during the World Cup will be second to none. With the very best young women in the world competing in Wellington the games will be very fast and very entertaining. The atmosphere inside the ASB arena will be great, with local fans supporters from all around the globe packing the stands to cheer on their national teams.”
IFF World Cup events are held every two years. The 2018 Under 19 Women’s event was in Switzerland, and the 2020 event is in Sweden. New Zealand competed in Switzerland, where the Kiwi girls made history by recording NZ's first ever win at a World Cup event (6-2 over the USA), and New Zealand is sending a team to compete in Sweden next May.