Premier Floorball was not originally intended to be a franchise

Eight years ago, a group of sports minded founders happened on a new sport that had been making headway into Canada and USA from Europe.  Curious they purchased some equipment and set out to play the sport of FLOORBALL with family and friends.  Interest grew and word spread.  Schools and school boards requested demonstrations and in turn purchased floorball kits.  In time, youth were seeking to play outside school and parents were searching for new sport programs.  Minor hockey associations teams, who had heard of floorball from Hockey Canada, were also looking for off ice floorball clinics to help with player development.

As the initial community floorball club was formed to address these newfound demands, many logistics of running a youth sports operations and youth engagement protocols presented themselves as did the challenges with recruiting and training volunteers.  Despite those hurtles, a successful DIY floorball club emerged and youth were introduced to the sport of floorball.

Over time, more interest grew from outside communities and pressure was on to open more floorball clubs.  The founders were reluctant at first to add clubs but eventually decided to move forward.  The reality of duplicating clubs set in and there arose a requirement for, resources and tools that could equally be used by both floorball clubs to ensure consistency and quality delivery of the sport and more of the founders’ time.  Many hours were invested in finding software, training aids, website platforms, suppliers and volunteers to help build and operate both floorball clubs.  Errors. learning curves, time constraints, financial investments and inconsistencies became the norm and each year there was a hesitation to reopen.  Had it not been for the growing interest for the sport and the sheer joy from the youth who played, the clubs would have ended there. 

The founders, having witnessed the impact the sport was having on youth, contemplated the idea of opening more clubs, even across the country, despite what they knew it would take to accomplish.  It became obvious to the founders, who having their own careers/ businesses, that they would have to partner with local individuals within a community that shared their liking for floorball but also their values and love for youth sports.  It would also mean a complete redesign and overhaul of the current ‘hit and miss’ DIY floorball club.  The redesign would need to better equip these individuals and make use of each others roles and responsibilities.  After much deliberation and discernment, the founders had made the choice to take the next steps.

Had it not been for the growing interest for the
sport  and the sheer joy from the youth who played,
the clubs would have ended there.

But where to start.  They began by validating the sport of floorball and determine the marketability of the sport by spending hundreds of hours trialing floorball activities that catered to schools, hockey teams and youth groups.  All this was essential if they were going to discover not only how to how to reach the youth but also to gauge their level of interests and determine the best methods of delivery to keep them engaged. 

Associations were formed with national and international floorball organizations to learn more about the sport of floorball and how it could assimilate into the sport culture.

The founders sought to explore any existing floorball clubs and determine what worked and what did not work.  They researched other sports that catered to youth, including both the community run organizations and private independents.  They drew upon many years of experience within these and other sport organizations.  They discovered that these organization had several redeeming qualities but for the most part many deficiencies and shortcomings.  Using any of these existing models would make it difficult to bring an unknown sport into a community and expect it to it operate consistently while offering youth a quality floorball experience every time in every community club across the country.

It became clear that in order to launch and grow more floorball clubs, a new approach to youth sports would have to be explored.  A new ‘sport model’ would be needed to ensure there was uniformity across all communities such that the sport be played according to the rules set by governing bodies, that the floorball activities offer youth consistency and quality in play, that all coaches and referees be recruited and trained properly, that youth sport protocols and policies be adhered to and quickly embraced when modified, that safety and high standards be upheld, that accountability be clear and measurable, partners could collaborate and help each other innovate and grow and that the youths interests be at the centre  in decisions and in designing new floorball programs.

A hybrid of the existing sport models in combination with a way to share mutual ownership with ‘strategic partners’ that created an environment of play for the betterment of the youth would be needed.  A platform for youth sports would also have to be designed, created, tested and simultaneously used in all communities that would offer strategic partners the technology, operational best practices and processes, proven marketing strategies and collateral, initial training, dependable supply chains and ongoing support. 

As the model evolved, it became evident that franchising was the best solution.  Even though franchising is an uncommon sports model in the organized YOUTH sports industry, it resonated with the founders as the best way to bring the sport of floorball to thousands of youth, and so Premier Floorball franchise was born.

Based on the success of the initial Premier Floorball clubs, it is evident that there is room in the organized youth sports market for a new ‘player’.  Parents are looking to new sports and the industry is looking for new ways to deliver youth sports that helps youth become better athletes, learn better life skills and develop better physical, mental, social and emotional health.