SINGAPORE - Competitive floorball returned on Saturday (March 6) as the Back2Floorball Modified League got underway at Our Tampines Hub, albeit against an unusual backdrop without crowds and full-sized squads.
Among the changes to the tournament was a reduction in the number of players per team from six - five players and a goalkeeper - to four a side.
Games were also split into three shifts of 15 minutes instead of the usual 20, and teams had to field three separate groups of four players for each shift.
With fewer players present at the courts, the competition venue was significantly quieter and the silence was initially strange for Black Wonderstick's Amshar Amin, 26.
But the forward, whose team beat Ainos 13-4 on Saturday, was just happy to be competing again. He said: "All of us were excited for this competition because we can showcase what we'd been training for and we need that competitive edge on top of just training with our teammates.
"It was a bit weird at the start when I stepped into the court and no one was making any noise. You're missing about 17 people that normally share the bench with you, but these are minor changes that we can adapt to."
There will be two rounds in the league, which involves 20 men's and 17 women's teams, with the first round finishing on May 2.
Based on their performance in the first round, teams will then be split into three tiers for the second round which will begin in the middle of May.
Teams play with three players and a goalkeeper in the first two periods, but in the third period, the normal-sized goal post is replaced with a small goal post and teams compete with four field players instead.
Each period is also broken up into six periods of two-and-a-half minutes with breaks in between to ensure that players get enough rest.
Ainos defender Timothy Goh said: "It's a lot more tiring and needs a lot more running, communication. As the periods went by, the teams got more tired. We're not as fit as we want to be, but at least we got to play."
This modified league may mean less play time for players as clubs may have to rotate their teams for different game weeks, but Black Wondersticks coach Saravanan Rajamanikam believes there are positives to take away from participating in such a tournament.
He said: "The players are getting more confidence in holding the ball and in team play.
"For this tournament, these small, modified games are very important. With this 4v4 format, they have more time with the ball, limited space so more ball control so this will help them to build up their technical skills."