EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – There’s a lot of traveling when it comes to being a college athlete. For the Michigan State wheelchair floorball team, it is preparing for the ultimate travel experience.
The Spartans are set to compete in the Swiss Wheely Open in Switerzland. The tournament features seven teams from six countries, and MSU will be the only one from the United States.
With the exception of fighting, floorball is similar to hockey in terms of the way the game is played.
“The same number of players, you also have to add in a goalie, you’re using hockey sticks. There are a couple of different rules, but that (hockey) is probably the closest sport,” MSU captain and Kinesiology instructor Piotr Pasik said.
MSU leaves for Switerzland on Tuesday and will play three games on Thursday, three games on Friday and two games on Saturday.
“Everyone wants to play for the university. It’s cool to not only represent Michigan State but the United States. I didn’t think I’d have this opportunity, let alone floorball. It’s just a really cool opportunity,” MSU junior defenseman Liam Darr said.
The opportunity to represent the university and country won’t be the Sparatans’ first time doing so. Back in 2019, they made a trip to the Netherlands to compete in floorball as well.
“We got involved in this one because the teams that we met over there in 2019, the national teams host their own tournaments in their respected countries, invited us,” Pasik said.
Darr said, “I jumped at the opportunity, because who gets to go to Switzerland to play wheelchair hockey? Not many people.”
What also made the trip possible was Michigan State’s support and sponsorships within the community that helped pay for some of the expenses.
“Students with disabilities are able to take advantage of competitive sports like they weren’t able to do before, just like able-body students can representing the university. Which is super cool in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Pasik said.