The sport of floorball boasts more than 400,000 players worldwide in 75 countries with formalized leagues.
Possessing many exciting aspects of ice hockey and field hockey, floorball is sure to be an attractive sporting event for sports fanatics in Massachusetts.
Sure football, basketball, baseball, and hockey are among the most popular sports for Massachusetts sportsbooks, but lesser known athletic pursuits are also on the list of approved list for sports betting in Massachusetts. Floorball is one of them, and we are taking a closer look at the sport to see what the rules are and how it works.
How floorball is played
According to the International Floorball Federation, floorball is a hybrid stick game that shares many traits with three other sports: ice hockey, field hockey, and bandy.
Floorball is played with a perforated plastic ball, typically yellow or green in color. Each team has five outfield players plus a goalkeeper, for a total of six per side.
The floorball stick is different than a hockey stick, and much lighter and more intricate than a “floor hockey” stick some may be familiar with. It’s designed so a player can control the ball with either side of the end of the stick.
Because the stick and ball are extremely lightweight, fast and soft hands are very important. For this reason, many professional ice hockey players used floorball to develop passing and handling skills. Peter Forsberg and Teemu Selanne are just two of the NHL stars from Europe who credited floorball with helping their game.
Key rules in floorball
Other important rules of floorball include:
- Games consist of three 20-minute periods.
- The playing surface is 40 meters long and 20 meters wide.
- Just as in ice hockey, a floorball game begins with a face-off.
- Following a penalty, a player may be placed in a “penalty seat,” resulting in their team being shorthanded.
- Substitutions are similar to ice hockey, as teams can freely substitute as many players as it wants during play.
- There is no checking, and players do not wear pads. This is a game of finesse, not fighting.
A spectator of floorball will quickly recognize many facets of the game are the same as ice hockey and field hockey. It’s also very similar to a game played in many gyms in the US called floor hockey.
Rules concerning how the stick can be used are crucial to floorball. A stick may never be lifted above the head of a defending player. Also, when a player is controlling the ball, his stick may not go above his or her waist.
The ball cannot be played (shot or passed) above knee height when controlled by a player. Players do not wear goggles or protective wear, and the rules make it a safe game since the ball is light and does not pose a threat at such a low trajectory.
The goalie does not have a stick. Instead, he or she uses their hands to stop the ball. The goalie cannot touch the ball outside the indicated goalie area.
Tie games are decided with a 10-minute period called “extra time,” where the first goal wins in sudden death. Just as in the NHL, if a game is still tied after an extra period, a penalty shootout can be used to decide the winning team.
Floorball originated in Sweden. It’s now considered one of the fastest-growing sports that’s popping up across the globe. So much so, that professional floorball is in the Massachusetts Sports Wagering Catalog.
Floorball first appeared in Sweden in the 1960s. The first floorball club was formed in Sala, Sweden in 1979.
Today, the best teams in the world are located in Scandinavia, with Sweden and Finland dominating international play. Many countries are developing competitive leagues and national teams, especially in Europe and Asia.
Betting on professional floorball in Massachusetts
Yes, you can wager legally on any professional floorball event sanctioned by the International Floorball Federation in Massachusetts. The top international leagues include Sweden’s Svenska Superligan, Finland’s F-liiga, and the Unihockey Prime League in Switzerland.
The North American Floorball League (NAFL) has six teams for the 2023 season, and most of them are located in the western region of the country. The season begins in July and lasts five weeks with about 15 games per team.
You’ll find odds for some floorball leagues on Massachusetts sports betting apps. In addition, you can claim several Massachusetts sports betting bonuses when creating your accounts.
The most popular floorball bets are moneyline bets. Goal-scoring is fairly similar to ice hockey, with a little more action. Game scores are typically in the 4-10 goal range per team. The best teams have a stingy defense and superb goaltending.
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