In the winter of 2021, a pair of floorball enthusiasts decided to start a professional floorball team. Daniel and Liam Williamsson, father and son, had announced the addition of the Florida Vikings to the 2022 inaugural season of the North American Floorball League.
The North American Floorball League (NAFL) is the first professional floorball league in North America founded in 2020. Teams from across the United States began to join the league and train to compete in the 2022 inaugural season.
The Florida Vikings announced their addition to the league at the Men’s Floorball World Championships of 2021 in Helsinki, Finland. Their intention was to bring excited to youth floorball players through the NAFL team. “We’re really excited to bring a high level of floorball to the US.”-Liam Williamsson From that moment, preparations began. Scouting was the first task for the Florida Vikings.
The goal of the Florida Vikings was to create not only a winning team, but one composed of players that would work well together and most importantly, have fun playing together. Playerswere chosen from a select group of top tier teams from around the world.
The Florida Vikings proved to be the most diverse team in the NAFL including players from Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, The Czech Republic, Estonia, Thailand and of course the United States. Scouting for players was a long and difficult process. Multiple interviews were held with many
different players from different countries. Players needed to be committed and able to fly across the world to play in the US. However difficult, expensive, and time consuming, the players all knew what a life changing event joining the professional league would be. The search ended in twenty players and two coaches who committed to the team. The roster included Josef “Pepa” Juha, Petr Chlad, Lukas Machac, and Jakub Madlo from Czech, Marco Fassler, and Joel Meier from Switzerland, Roman pass from Estonia, Topias Zien from Finland, Lucas Lindberg, Philip Ehrenpreis, Edvin Gantelius, and Tim Lindberg from Sweden, Alexander Rinefalk from Thailand, and Hugo Rouvinen, Liam Williamsson, Michal Winiarski, Ben Andersson, Derek Moser, and Trent Kling from the United States with Henrik Lindberg from Sweden and Daniel Williamsson from the United States as head coaches.
On June 24 th 2022, the games had finally begun. Because the team was so diverse in nationality and club teams, the players had little to no experience playing with each other prior to the tournament. Nonetheless, the high expectations for the team were beyond exceeded. Each week continued to be more exciting than the next as tensions between the four teams grew and the Vikings continued to take home victories. No week held more excitement than week 4 in Orlando, Florida, home of the Florida Vikings.
Fans from all over the world cheered and chanted as the Vikings took charge and won multiple games in the week. When the final week approached, nerves were felt by the teams, coaches, and fans alike. Every
team was preparing to leave their final marks on the court. But none stood out more than the Vikings. The Florida Vikings went on to be undefeated in the last week of the games held in Fort Worth, Texas.
Differing chants and cheers came from the stands, each louder than the next as the Vikings played. Each game was well fought for, but no team seemed to be able to beat the Vikings. As the clock counted to the last minute of the final period, cheers erupted the stadium. The Florida Vikings went all the way to the finals and in a concluding score of 11-3, the championship was won. Players stormed the court and began chanting the name that started it all; “Vikings! Vikings! Vikings!”
Fans were elated, players were euphoric, and the win was historic. They had done it. The goal was to build a team that would leave a lasting impact on the floorball world. The dream was to take home gold. Both were achieved by tenfold. The Florida Vikings continue to train, plan, scout, and recruit for following seasons. And they will be back for another victory.