In a tightly fought competition between Canada & USA, it was the Canadians who came out on top after the two WFC qualification matches and secured a spot at the final round in Switzerland in November.
Canada won the first match with a decisive 4-1 victory. In an event where the teams meet each other only twice, having a three-goal advantage was significant. Past matches had often been decided by just one goal, so USA faced a tough job in the second match. They needed to dominate the scoring, but it was Canada who flew out of the gates to take a 3-0 lead after just 5 minutes. A combination of Canada relaxing and the USA team stepping up, saw the second period go completely the way of the Americans, and they put three past the Canadian keeper to tie it up at 3-3.
Canada showed a better team understanding, having many players with several WFCs under their belt, as well as several players who have come through the U19s with each other. They were without some of their ‘star’ players, like Brandon (Pavel) Barber or Valtteri Viitakoski, who was unavailable as his club team is still involved in the Finnish league finals, but this gave the opportunity for new players to get experience. In contrast, the USA had many more players making their international or senior debut, and the lack of experience showed, especially in the last period when they were in a situation of having to score at least 3 goals to keep their qualification hopes alive. The home crowd urged the USA team on, and they pushed hard in the final minutes, taking off the goalkeeper and giving themselves the extra player advantage, but a lack of actual shots on goal gave them no chance to change the result. The final score was 4-4, which meant that Canada ended with 3 points and USA one.
The WFCQ was played in Fort Worth, Texas at the Texas Christian University (TCU). The facilities offered by the university were top-rate and the USFbA was also hosting the Texas Floorball Open in conjunction with the WFCQ. For many of the TCU students it was the first time they had seen Floorball, and going by the enthusiasm they showed for trying it out during the intermissions they would be happy to get a lot more opportunities to play. The inclusion of Floorball at collegiate level in the USA is a big aim of the USFbA and hopefully this event has opened some doors for this.
Although the countries are neighbours, it had been more than four years since Canada & USA had played each other, with their last meeting being in the 2018 WFC qualifications. USA will not have to wait that long again for another chance against Canada, as the teams are placed in the same group for The World Games 2022, which will be played in Birmingham, Alabama in July. The U19 men’s teams will also meet in WFC Qualifications in September. The exposure that Floorball is receiving with these events all being close to each other is really important for the growth of floorball, not just in the USA, but also in all of North America.
Match replays from WFCQ 2022 AMER can be found on IFF YouTube channel 1.
The final round of the Men’s World Championships will be played from 5th – 13th November 2022 in Zurich & Winterthur, Switzerland. For information on the event and to buy tickets visit the official WFC 2022 Event Website