Alex Staib started playing floorball in Canberra in 2014; a year later she was in the Australian team.
Her ability at field hockey in the St Pats first grade side in the ACT Capital League meant the transition to floorball was relatively seamless.
“I was playing field hockey with St Pats when a family friend who was coaching a floorball team in Canberra suggested I come and try it because he thought the game would suit me,” Alex says.
She has not looked back.
From that moment it’s been a roller coaster with multiple world championship appearances with the Australian team.
There are many reasons floorball is attractive to athletes with skills developed through field hockey.
A mix of indoor and ice hockey, the sport features five players and a goalkeeper on each team. Needless to say, it’s fast and players need to be fit.
The CBR Brave often fields a team in the ACT floorball competition beyond the Australian Ice Hockey League season.
For Alex, there is plenty to like about the sport on and off the field: “I love the fact that it’s fast paced. You are always involved, it has great intensity.
“It’s a great community. It’s a small niche sport, and nobody plays for money; in fact, it’s self-funded.”
But there is a high-performance focus among the elite players who work towards maximising their abilities.
In a bid to lift her game to another level, Alex has had stints in the strong Swiss league.
“Switzerland has a high level of floorball with a strong competition,” she says. “To make the change was a big learning curve.”
It’s obviously benefitted her game, but she’s had to contend with injuries.
“It’s a balance for me in terms of my fitness as I am returning to play after a knee injury.”
She will again be in the green and gold of Australia come 2 December at the 2023 world titles in Singapore. Australia was one of 16 teams to qualify earlier this year.
But if the sport in Canberra is to grow beyond its current niche, greater investment is needed in indoor facilities.
Floorball, like many sports in the ACT, has the potential for enormous growth but it’s dependent on the availability of facilities which are at the moment limited.