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Support grows for floorball in Belleville as championships draw near

Canadian Under-19 Women's Floorball player Livy Greaves shows off her stickhandling abilities at the Quinte Mall during a fundraiser event last Saturday. Photo by Matthew Murray, QNet News

Canadian under-19 women’s floorball player Livy Greaves shows off her stickhandling abilities at the Quinte Mall during a fundraiser event last Saturday. Photo by Matthew Murray, QNet News

By Matthew Murray [1]

BELLEVILLE – Being selected for Canada’s women’s under-19 floorball team was a breath of fresh air, says Belleville native Livy Greaves.

“It was a relief. I could just breathe and be like, ‘I’m here now. I’ve just got to keep working and doing what I’ve been doing.’ ”

Greaves was one of 28 women chosen for the final roster for Canada for the Floorball World Championship [2] to be held at the Quinte Sports and Wellness Centre [3] in Belleville this May. At 15 years old, she’s one of the youngest players on the team, which she said motivates her to work harder. She wants to show the older players that she can play just as well as they do, she said.

At a team fundraiser at the Quinte Mall on Saturday, Greaves and other players, along with team staff, sold raffle tickets and showcased their floorball skills. Greaves said people who are still skeptical about the sport, which is relatively small in Canada with about 1,000 registered players, need to see it in person.

“I think they have to see it – just come to one of these events and just see what the sport’s like, because it’s like hockey.”

That similarity is one reason Greaves was drawn to the sport. She started playing floorball while in a hockey class in the ninth grade, and her coach pushed her to stick with it.

Support for floorball from the Belleville community has grown, Greaves said. Her friends and teachers have been buying tickets for the championship, and some of her teachers are trying to organize bus trips for students to watch the games, she said.

Davis Floorball

Team Canada general manager Brett Davis (centre) speaks with people who stopped by the team’s fundraising event at the Quinte Mall Saturday afternoon. Davis is also the president of the organizing committee for the world championships to be held in Belleville this May. Photo by Matthew Murray, QNet News

The general manager of Team Canada, Brett Davis, said support for the team has turned a corner now that the championships are drawing closer. Attracting interest and attention to the Belleville event is key to growing floorball in Canada, Davis said. It will be the first time an international floorball event has been held in Canada.

Strong offence is a key factor for Team Canada at the championships, Davis said, explaining that the Canadians play an offence style that presses on the European teams that are not used to it. The leadership core on the team is also huge, he said, but goaltending is something he would like to make sure is top-notch going into the tournament.

“We need to make sure our goaltending is still not suspect. We’re a little bit weaker in that, but the goaltenders are dedicated to it and they’re on top of it. I would imagine they will come through in the end.”

Anyone who’s still on the fence about floorball should come to the Canada-Germany game on May 6, Davis said. The games between the two nations have become a rivalry; previous matchups have resulted in each team having one win and one loss.

The last match was particularly heated, with Canada edging past Germany 5-4, he said. He tried to place a friendly bet with his German counterparts before the match, but they refused.

“They said, ‘We will kill you,’ ” said Davis, throwing on a slight accent. “And you know what? We showed them.”

Canada’s first game of the championships is against Japan on May 4 at the Yardmen Arena. To buy tickets, go to the championship’s website [4].