On a cloudy morning in October 2011, I was introduced to the employees of swiss unihockey in this way: “This is Daniel Kasser. Many have had second thoughts because Daniel does not come from the floorball sport, but despite this, we nevertheless think that he is up to the task of being Managing Director of the WFC 2012.” When I heard the “despite this”, part of me wanted to leave right then and there. Some of the employees gave me the impression that they were tired and worn out. The forthcoming home Women’s WFC in St. Gallen had to be organized, at the same time as taking care of the daily business. No wonder that the employees weren’t particularly interested in the home WFC the following year, and they certainly couldn’t care less about who was responsible for it. It would be one of my most important tasks to motivate the team for the organization of the Men’s WFC immediately after the Women’s WFC had concluded. But I really completely failed to do that.
I was 27 years old at the time, and had just returned from a year with the NFL Team Seattle Seahawks; I was fascinated and inspired by the American way of sports and event staging. I was driven by the urge to do that in Switzerland, too. With floorball.
In January 2012, I invited the entire team to the Hallenstadion at Oerlikon, Zurich. During the tour, and before showing them the arena for the weekend finals, I had planned a motivational presentation. Something like Al Pacino in the football epic Any Given Sunday, at least that is what I imagined. The internal motto of the Women’s WFC 2011 was “A WFC for the Teams”, i.e. it was the sport first, entertainment second. I had “WFC 2012–A Championship for the Spectators” on my very first slide. The exact opposite of what had been done up to then.
I describe myself as a pragmatic, more of a reserved kind of person. Why on earth did I think I had to use a battle axe then? It was probably the feeling that I had to prove myself after that rather sticky start. Despite (or because of?) my lacking floorball competency. It was basically OK, but an idiotic way of doing it. Instead of storming onto the field like Al Pacino with a highly motivated team, we remained seated in the dressing room. The ones who were skeptical about me anyway thought I was even more ridiculous and the others were certainly wondering what it was all supposed to be about.
Although there were enough arguments and opportunities to convince people with my ideas. Without saying a lot and without brushing off other opinions. In the years that followed, I learned that floorball works exactly like that. And that floorball is successful because of it.
The top priority for floorballers is the positive further development of the sport. When taking crucial decisions, personal interests are set aside in favor of progress. It is preferable to tread a bit more softly and to get things going together instead, and to do this with a healthy portion of self-confidence, openness and innovation, but also with humility and respect. It would be the greatest mistake for floorball sport to give up this attitude. With the sport’s growth during the last few years, new possibilities have emerged, and with them also many temptations. Floorball will change because of this. But the basic values should remain the same.
Hardly 10 years after that above-mentioned low point of mine at the Hallenstadion, I am standing at a similar low right now. In about a year, a major event is supposed to take place. But the signs are different this time. The budget is three times as high as in 2012. During the last ten years, floorball has gained significant ground in the areas of awareness/recognition, media presence and political importance. The team consists of experienced professionals. This makes many things easier, bigger, and brighter. But then again, the values and the basic attitudes remain the same. Never rest, always listen, learn from mistakes and work respectfully towards the next step, getting the most out of everything. If we can continue to count on everyone, then things will go well. The WFC 2022: A Championship for everyone.
And what happened after my unforgettable appearance at the start of 2012? In the following months, I nevertheless managed to find my way with and get along with most of the employees, somehow, on different levels. Entertainment still remains a sensitive topic. Obviously, not everyone appreciated “The Show” (oh yes, we certainly had one). One daily newspaper wrote “excessive hoo-ha” and “animators like overwound market criers”. OK, Switzerland just isn’t like the USA. However, we still stuck to expanding the staging and in the last few years, we were able to celebrate several successes. But that’s another story.
Daniel Kasser, CEO WFC 2022
The WFC 2022 is not his first rodeo, as the saying goes. He was already the business manager of the WFC 2012 and since then, Daniel has been completely hooked by floorball. After 10 years in the business, six of which as Marketing and Events Manager, he always has some good stories up his sleeve to tell us.