Floorball club looks to sweep the River Region



by Christopher Kratzer
Air University Public Affairs


3/25/2011 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- When you think of sports that are fun and exciting, floorball might not be the first thing to come to mind, but the River Region Floorball Club wants to change that.

The group, organized by Maj. Phillip Douglas, the 42nd Medical Group practice manager, has brought the sport to the Montgomery area and hopes to get more people interested in the game.

Floorball, which originated in Europe, was developed in the 1970s. The sport is similar to floor hockey with a few differences: the sticks are light fiberglass instead of heavy wood, and the ball is a light plastic ball instead of heavy rubber. The rules are also stricter than floor hockey. There is no intentional body checking, which also means pads are not required.

"All you need is a stick and a ball, which we furnish, some shorts, a shirt and tennis shoes. That's all you need to play," Major Douglas said.

Although the group is relatively new, participants already seem to be having a blast, he said.

"Of the 56 (participants), 41 have played at least twice. That's more than 70 percent who come back for more," Major Douglas said. "It's just good fun and a great workout."

Major Douglas hopes the group will eventually become a competitive team or possibly a River Region league. Airman 1st Class Adam Pires, a medical information systems technician, hopes that will happen as well.

"We film most of the games, make highlights and publish them on YouTube to get more people excited and involved with floorball. After the first time people come, they are addicted and come back again and again," Airman Pires said.

Floorball is exciting, but it also serves as a great workout.

"You burn a lot of calories out there because it's nonstop movement," he said.

Airman Pires said playing the game can be a great way to boost morale and build team and communication skills.

"This is a team sport, and the only real way to win or have fun is to be a 100-percent team player," Airman Pires said. "I enjoy spending time with co-workers outside of work to get to know people better and build relationships."

Even though floorball hasn't become mainstream, Airman Pires said people shouldn't have any problem jumping right in.

"There are a lot of people who do not know what floorball is, but they would be surprised at how easy it is to pick up the sport and how much fun they can have with us."

The River Region Floorball Club is co-ed and is not just for the military. Anyone can participate. The group meets 7 - 9 p.m. Wednesday at the McQueen Smith YMCA in Prattville.