The Beaver Interview with Floorball Society President

Ella Cheong, president of the floorball society, spoke with me about what floorball is, insights she has gained from competing in a co-ed sport and team dynamics. In the interview, she touched upon her favorite memory, the diversity of the team and what their plans are for Lent Term.

Noah: Could you introduce yourself, what you do, what floorball is, and what you’ve done this year so far?

Ella: Floorball is ice hockey without the ice. The sport is mostly popular in Eastern Europe, Finland, Sweden, and Singapore. Our floorball cohort used to be around 60% Eastern European and 40% Singaporean. The year 3 batch is the last batch of pre-Brexit players, so we used to have a lot more Eastern Europeans. Now, because of the change in the student population, we are more like a Singaporean club. The good thing is that this year, we’ve gotten a lot more local players to join us, especially people with former ice hockey or hockey backgrounds. I have been the floorball captain since November of last year. The LSE team plays 5v5 games on the court in the Marshall Building. The unique thing about floorball compared to other sports is we have quite a lot of external players that come in. This is because originally, our team used to be too small to play by ourselves in a league. Slowly, our external member population has grown, with people from Imperial, UCL, and King’s joining us. 

Noah: That’s cool. Building off of that, you mentioned how membership is reliant on students from different universities to join. How has that impacted team culture? Does it make it harder to bond and be on campus with each other?

Ella: The team that we play with, London United, wasn’t meant to be an LSE focused team at first, because last year it was LSE and Imperial. But, this year, since we have the Marshall Court, the dynamics of the team kind of changed and the LSE team was the main team in charge. This is just because we’re the team that always interacts with the SU, we’re the team that always organizes socials at Sway. Because of that, the team culture shifted to more of an LSE majority. Only 20% of a society’s members can come from external sources. As a result, some people had to leave the club. It was a difficult change to navigate at first, but I think that, currently, where our club stands makes me really happy. We have a lot more members than last year because of the branding that we’ve done, and a lot of people just got to know us because our team won the championship last year at Oxford. Currently, we have 50 members, compared to last year when we only had around 20. As of now, the main challenge we face is that we have a lot of people. Sessions have been quite hard to conduct because obviously with so many people, there are also many different ability levels. Floorball is a sport where we have the recreational team and the competitive team play together, but now we’re trying to explore whether we should do separate sessions or not, especially as we get closer to competition season.

Noah: What social activities have you organized so far?

Ella: We go to Wetherspoons after almost every training session. Because the Spoons staff recognizes us from going so much, they ask us, “oh, do you want us to save a table for you?” Other than that, we organize socials at Sway around once every 3 weeks. Because floorball has quite a lot of alumni from LSE, and they are busy on weekdays, our Sway socials aren’t as frequent as other clubs.

Noah: How about your favorite memory from being on the floorball team?

Ella: After we had our University League win last year, we were just walking around Oxford looking for a pub that could accommodate all of us. In the end, nobody could take us, so we just went to this random restaurant. They could tell that we all wanted to party, so they kept approaching our team and offering alcohol. We kept saying yes, but then the bill came and we were like, “oh my gosh, can we claim club funds for this?” It was really fun because we didn’t go into the season expecting a lot. As a first-year captain, I didn’t really know what to expect. It was hard to gauge the ability of the team, so going into the season we weren’t expecting a championship win or anything. After playing a few matches we were like, ‘hey, maybe we have this in the bag’.

Noah: I’m glad to hear that! Looking forward, what are you most excited about for the rest of the year?

Ella: This year we have so many players that we have decided to send two teams to the competition. We have competitions that I’m looking forward to as we play until March. We’re looking forward to more socials. We’re going to do elections in Lent term, so I’m trying to see who’s going to run for captain and how exactly to pass the position down. 

Noah: That’s all I have, but do you have anything specific that you’d like to add, or something that I missed? 

Ella: We play a mixed gender sport, and there aren’t any regulations for how many girls have to be on a team. Last year we only had 3 girls, and starting out, I was quite scared. It’s a contact sport and it can get really rough, because you can shove people. I’m trying to get more girls on the team. Floorball is meant to be a bit more chill because we don’t have padding like ice hockey, we don’t move as quickly. Diversity in the sport is important for me. As a girl, when I first joined floorball I was quite nervous about guys being harsher, like if you mess up, they won’t be afraid to tell it to your face. I think in the teams I was in previously, people are a lot more PC and gentle with you. At the start when I joined floorball, I was on the edge about that. But, I think it’s a really good experience to play the sport with guys because being upfront about mistakes helps a lot with how fast you improve. It improves the team dynamic as well – there’s no underhandedness. 

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