And clearly, floor hockey is for feisty females who are tempted to grapple and apply submission holds. Our friend’s nickname is Bertuzzi – named after NHLer Todd Bertuzzi who concussed Steve Moore. She also adores Don Cherry...
Truly, girls love this sport and some play in multiple leagues and in multiple nights weekly, to satiate their fitness and fun floor hockey fix. “Bertuzzi” not only regaled us with the Chicken Wing ding story she revealed purplish bruises and red welts – those, and the mental scars, are what she takes out of this sport.
You need shins for floor hockey. Shins and chins, and grins. All win, the game is great to play if you can repress and forget the accidental or intentional whacks to those shins, which won’t be easy because, other than the goaltenders, nobody – at least in some leagues - seems to wear pads or protection of any kind. (Although we didn’t look closely in the private parts areas.) Other leagues do make gloves, helmets and face guards mandatory…
In the interests of gender participation and parity at least one female per team must be on the floor, terrorizing others, whether it be on a 3 on 3, 4 on 4, or 5 on 5 situation. For the latter, two females must be on the floor. With a goalie as one position it’s easy to see why players get gassed – and that’s why substitutions are allowed – to prevent lungs from bursting. And females often have to play the whole game if they’re the only one on their team. Substitutes have to sign an on-line waiver - never a good sign. You want to surf in the ocean? Sign the waiver because, after all, you’re tooling around in a shark’s hometown, but what kind of monsters do the waiver’s deal with in floor hockey, outside of the sap late-hit losers?
Speaking of losers (let’s leave the waiver mumbo-jumbo be) there are no Garth-Snow goalies allowed to corrupt things with colossally oversized shoulder pads like Garth’s – or leg ones. The latter must not be taller than 34 “or wider than 11.5 “. The hockey sticks must use plastic blades, to protect the floors one suspects, but that doesn’t mean that a slash, hook, or, god-forbid a spear, wouldn’t hurt.
One fantastic feature of the sport is that all of the gym, with the exception of the area under the benches, is considered “live.” Another fine factor is that balls don’t roll down the road or get squashed by cars like they do in street-hockey. (And the nerve of cars to use thoroughfares for driving. Terrible.) Also, the weather is always temperate inside with no snow banks to lose the ball in. But tempers rise indoors when normal players have to put up with the histrionics and ersatz heroics - the antics - of numb-skull dolts who have decided their miserable lives would be best brought up to scratch by using recreational league sports as the ramp to get their going-pro quest back on track.
Gyms, however, have corners. To avoid smashing someone into one, the player closest to the ball must be allowed a stick length (and three seconds or so) to make a play. With no helmets or other protection, players are sitting ducks and are at the mercy of opponents being stand-up, abide-by-the-situations-stipulations, sorts...Now, if you’ve a screw loose and stickhandle your way into a corner, you can be crowded, but not checked...
Unlike ice hockey where a goalie can come well-out of the crease to “play the angles” a goalie here must keep a foot in the crease at all times. And nor can your goalie be a whacker-hacker-cheap-shot-artist-NY-Islanders-Billy-Smith thwacker type. Leave criminal behavior where it rightly belongs, in school parking lots, under bleachers, in washrooms, or in the classroom when a substitute teacher is in control.
Where were we? Oh, yes - decorum. Like curling, players are supposed to “call themselves out” if they’ve violated rules, a refreshing facet that major league baseball, with cheating in its DNA, should adopt. Hand passes and sliding, for example, are not allowed. The GC, or Games Coordinator, is the big cheese running things and high sticking could run you into a misconduct penalty.
From misconduct to elite conduct: you’ve mastered passing, shooting, deking, and stick handling, now set your sights on the top-notch level international stage. Zug, Switzerland, is site to the World Ball Hockey Championship in June 2015 for men and women teams. Three stadiums will host the over 20 participant countries and 600+ athletes.
Back to the lower levels for a moment. In “Bertuzzi’s” floor hockey league - there is something called “Spirit Points.” These are, officially, awarded for good sportsmanship but wussy teams play soft in the hope that the other team will give them a spirit point, even if their hockey skills stink. So a team well behaved could come out ahead, even if the score was tied at game’s end.
Enough of that. In the final analysis floor hockey offers not only competition, but camaraderie, testing not only one’s stamina, but trying one’s skills. It’s easy to understand, sure - but it’s sure hard to play well. And while it is inexpensive to play, it is precious to those who play it.