Supporting the growth of Floorball in the United States.

“The atmosphere was intense”

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Updated: September 12, 2019
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Sixteen floorball teams from around the country converged on the town of Lynchburg, VA August 2-4 to compete for the National Championship.

Why Lynchburg? USA Floorball and the North Texas Floorball Association were honored to be able to stage their National Championship in conjunction with the 2019 State Games of America, an Olympic-style event featuring competition between State Games medal winners from across the nation.

The twelve elite teams were Orlando Vikings, Southside Legends, Colorado, North Texas, USA Men’s U19 National Team, Richmond Rockets, Chicago Dogs, NYC, Triangle Floorball Club, Menlo Park, Utah Floorball, and a combined USA Women’s and U19 National Team. The tournament also featured four  youth teams: Dallas Crushers, Orlando Vikings [Youth], Utah Youth, and a Mixed Youth Team.

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On Friday, August 1, before the tournament got underway, USA Men’s National Team Head Coach Joel Olofsson lead a development camp attended by nearly 50 participants of all skill levels. When Saturday morning came, the sixteen teams converged on two rinks at EC Glass high school, and right from the start the competition was fierce. The top-ranked elite teams made it clear that they were there to win, and Menlo Park (the defending champions), North Texas, Colorado, and NYC had commanding victories on the first day. Each team played three pool games on the opening day, and by the time the summer sun began to set, Menlo Park, North Texas, and Chicago each topped their group, undefeated heading into the playoffs.

The Youth tournament finished with a thrilling match between the Orlando Vikings Youth Team and the Dallas Fireballs, with the Fireballs coming out on top with a score 7-3. Will from the Orlando Vikings was named Youth Division MVP, and Ethan from the Dallas Fireballs was named the best goalie in the Youth Division.

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Day one of Nationals finished with a special exhibition game between the US Men’s U19 team and the US Women’s U19 team. The game was played under IFF regulations and officiated by the United States’ very own international referee pair, Sean Edin and Vince Faso. Despite incredible goaltending from Cassie Troy, the U19 Women were a little outmatched and the U19 Men won 10-1.

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As the playoffs began Sunday morning, the games got more competitive. In the quarterfinals, Chicago earned a decisive 6-1 win over Colorado, and NYC squeaked by Utah 1-0. However, in the semifinals Chicago lost to Menlo Park 5-2 and NYC was bested by North Texas 5-1. The resulting bronze medal game between Chicago and NYC was a nailbiter that had to be decided in overtime where Chicago came out on top 2-1 on a goal by Ike Baldwin.

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The atmosphere was intense as one of the largest crowds to watch a floorball game on American soil witnessed the much anticipated gold medal game between constant rivals North Texas and Menlo Park The teams did not disappoint. The pace was quick and the game was physical from the start. While Menlo Park boasts several highly skilled offensive players (most notably the eventual scoring champion, Erik Haghjoo), North Texas goalie Cam Keener turned away everything that Menlo Park threw at him. When the final buzzer sounded, North Texas had dethroned Menlo Park 2-0. As the players from both teams lined up to thank each other and receive their medals, the mutual respect between the two teams was apparent and as they will no doubt face each other in future tournaments, this game is one that the players and spectators alike will not soon forget.

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Final Elite Rankings: 1. North Texas; 2. Menlo Park; 3. Chicago; 4. NYC; 5. Utah; 6. Colorado; 7. Triangle Floorball; 8. USMNT-U19; 9. Southside Legends; 10. USAMNT; 11. Orlando Vikings; 12. Richmond Rockets.

Article by Vince Faso, photos Adam Troy