The 2022/23 season once again saw a record number of licensed floorball players. 34,133 licences were issued as of April 2023, 143 more than in the previous year.
The number of licences is increasing particularly strongly among juniors. “The home World Floorball Championships and the emotional moments associated with it have certainly encouraged some children to start playing floorball,” says Reto Balmer, head of sports development at swiss unihockey. “In addition, the clubs have invested their resources in young talent, neglecting grassroots sport among the active players a little.” This can also be seen in the figures, because while the growth in E and D juniors is disproportionately high and has contributed to the 34,000 mark being broken for the first time, the trend in active licences is downwards. In the last six years, fewer licences have been issued in the women’s large- and small-sided categories and in the men’s small-sided category. Only in the men’s large field category has the number remained practically unchanged. “In the small field category, the decline has been relatively high in recent years. This could be related to the pandemic and the change in leisure behaviour,” says Balmer. In order to better strengthen grassroots sport again, a grassroots sport concept will be developed in cooperation with Swiss Olympic from 2024.
The number of teams is also surveyed annually, and an increase was again noted. While the number declined in the previous season, 54 additional teams were registered this season. The total number of teams is 2,083, with only the number of clubs declining slightly. There are five fewer clubs registered than last year: 384.
The challenge of voluntary work
Despite the new high in the number of licensed floorball players, Balmer says there are also many challenges, especially for the clubs. “Volunteering is under a lot of pressure, and in a sport that relies so heavily on volunteers as we do, this effect is even more pronounced. There are quite a few clubs that have waiting lists because they don’t have any coaches. So not everyone who wants to can play floorball with us. That is worrying and a great pity. This is where we want to start with club development.