Dinosaurs in distress
For the first 20 years of my life, organized floorball did not exist. Just like almost everyone else my age in Finnish cities, we played and watched hockey and football.
From hockey and football, we also learned how games are to be decided. Teams played for 60 or 90 minutes and goals scored would be counted to see whether it was a win, a loss or a tie.
In 1984, Finnish hockey got a bit more complicated as the sudden death overtime was introduced. For us fans it brought additional minutes of anxiety as the difference between heaven and hell was so clear. An overtime goal for our team meant jubilation, an overtime goal for them meant no points and a quiet ride home.
Yet, we got used to thinking that was the right way. Also in floorball, where the same logic with a five-minute sudden death overtime bringing two points or nothing was applied. And not forgetting the wise possibility for a tie if the teams obviously were equally good at scoring that night.
But the world changed. From far away in America, rumors were spreading about deciding hockey games with penalty shootouts. What a ridiculous thought. What lunacies next? Giving a point to the team that losses in overtime or in a penalty shootout to make them feel better? Cutting the number of players to play the overtime?
Well, the world changed some more and the ridiculous ideas got closer and closer. The Finnish hockey league. Swedish floorball.
As the new generation of Finnish floorball players of which most traditionally also are avid hockey fans grew up, they started asking uncomfortable questions. Why are there still ties in Salibandyliiga regular season games? Why not decide the games with a penalty shootout? Why not award a point to the team that makes it into overtime? Should we play the overtime four against four to make the game more open for scoring? Obviously, their normal was not like ours.
From there, it was a losing battle.
Inevitably, the Finnish Floorball Federation now introduced changes for the upcoming season 2017 - 2018. Regular season games to be decided with a penalty shootout should the overtime remain goalless. Four against four in overtime. A point for the team that loses the shootout or the overtime, two for the winner.
Move over, dinosaurs.