By Jasmine McKnight
Last fall, Carleton University welcomed a new club to campus: the Carleton Floorball Club.
Spearheaded by Glebe residents and Carleton students Patrick McNeill-McKinnell and Johnny Khare, the club has found a home at Carleton University’s Norm Fenn Gymnasium for weekly sessions.
Especially popular with the hockey crowd, floorball is rapidly growing in the Glebe, the rest of Ottawa and across the country due to its easy-to-pick-up, fast-paced nature and welcoming community. Played on a court with a ball and sticks, floorball resembles ball hockey, but differing rules make it a smoother, safer game without limiting the intensity.
“Floorball is a fun, fast-paced sport that incorporates many similar elements to hockey,” explained McNeill-McKinnell, a third-year criminology student. “It has a growing community full of wonderful people. It’s a very fun sport that also helps improve certain skills for hockey players and is overall a great source of physical activity.”
A mix of high-level, experienced and fresh new players attend the Carleton Floorball Club’s sessions, allowing the perfect environment to learn the game, hone skills and get to know others. Sticks are provided for those who don’t have equipment or are trying floorball for the first time. All equipment has been loaned free of charge by the Ottawa Blizzard Floorball Club.
Both McNeill-McKinnell and Khare graduated from Glebe Collegiate before moving on to Carleton, but each had his own path to playing floorball.
“I was about 12 years old when I first started playing floorball with the Ottawa Blizzard. I was introduced to the sport through a friend I played hockey with on the Ottawa Sting and have never looked back since,” McNeill-McKinnell said.
Khare, a third-year commerce student majoring in finance, started playing in 2018. He is involved in various other sports, including teaching tennis and, like McNeill-McKinnell, he heard about floorball through friends.
McNeill-McKinnell and Khare credit Matt Smith, the president of Floorball Canada and a Carleton University alumnus, for suggesting the creation of a floorball club at Carleton.
“[Smith] saw potential in starting a club and recruiting new players from the school and opening more eyes to floorball,” Khare said.
“I only learned about floorball post-graduation,” said Smith. “As I became more and more involved in the sport, I realized how much this community could have helped me while I was in school. As someone who never lived in residence, I didn’t meet many students outside of my classes. So, the floorball club Patrick and Johnny started could have a deeper effect than they even know.
“I give a huge amount of credit to these two for getting it started and now leading the way. It almost makes me want to go back to school.”
Not only does the club help spread and grow the sport of floorball in the Carleton and Ottawa community, but after two years of online classes, the club is a great way to meet new people, form connections and get active.
In terms of creating the club, it was not entirely smooth sailing.
“We definitely hit some road bumps along the way, particularly in the administrative and recruiting aspects,” said McNeill-McKinnell. “Fortunately, thanks to the Carleton community and a few helpful individuals like CUSA’s (Carleton University Students’ Association) Hannah Whale, we were able to get the club up and running.”
Carleton is not the only university where floorball is being played. The University of Waterloo and Acadia Universary have notable floorball clubs. Students at the University of Ottawa are also working towards getting a club started on campus.
The Carleton Floorball Club now runs weekly on either Tuesday or Friday in the Norm Fenn Gymnasium. The exact dates can be found on the cufloorballclub Instagram page. The sessions are led by McNeill-McKinnell and Khare, who are eager to welcome new players to the club.
For those interested in getting involved, reach out by email at email@example.com or pop by the Norm Fenn Gymnasium and check it out. Just bring your running shoes and your water bottle.
Jasmine McKnight is a recent graduate of the University of Ottawa, editor-in-chief of the Fulcrum and proud Ottawa resident.