Grade 9 students enjoy floorball
Grade 9 students at Hamilton District Christian High School (HDCH) had the opportunity to play in an intramural floorball program as a result of receiving Try Day government funding.
Try Day funding is from the Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion and the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) distributed the grants of $800 to 215 schools to introduce a new or non-traditional sport or physical activity. Try Day aims to encourage high school students to be active while being exposed to a sport or activity they may not yet be involved in.
“The idea about try day is just to try it out, and it’s the kind of thing where I think that our school wouldn’t spend money on something that’s untried,” says Harry Meester, the school’s director of recruitment and advancement, adding that financial stewardship is very important to HDCH.
Ron Oppertshauser, HDCH’s head of physical education, says the school had tried in previous years to receive the Try Day funding but other schools had already been accepted. When he found out this year’s Try Day funding is geared towards Grade 9 students, his initial idea was to organize a Grade 9 Day with rock climbing equipment.
When the school got word in August their application was accepted, Oppertshauser says other plans had been made for Grade 9 Day. Many schools that receive Try Day funding are interested in rock climbing or floorball – a sport that is replacing ball hockey in many schools, he says.
Oppertshauser saw a presentation about floorball at last year’s Ophea (Ontario Physical and Health Education Association) conference and says he was interested in trying the sport. “It’s a lot safer (than ball hockey) — different rules make it safer and it takes specialized equipment to really play it properly,” he says.
Floorball sticks are lightweight and made of rounded plastic. The ball is similar to a whiffle ball, made of hard plastic with holes. The goalies do not use sticks; they play on their knees and block the ball with their hands and body.
The rules of floorball include that the sticks can never come above the waist and players cannot make contact with the stick shaft or the body with the stick. This makes the sport safer, with more running and control of the ball says Oppertshauser.
With the grant HDCH purchased 24 floorball sticks and 12 balls.
In November Grade 9 students were invited to come out at lunchtime and play the sport. While some traditional hockey players found it tough at first to get used to the new rules, Oppertshauser says they quickly got used to it and realize they have more control of the ball.
Oppertshauser says he hopes to make a floorball presentation at the next Ontario Christian School Teachers Association (OCSTA) convention. “People are going to be hearing about floorball more and more,” he says.
Oppertshauser says he would encourage other Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools (OACS) schools to consider applying for the funding, and to apply early, before August. For more information on Try Day, visit www.ofsaa.on.ca.