What is Broomball?

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Broomball is a sport that is a combination of ice hockey and indoor soccer. The game is played on a ice rink with 5 players plus a goalie on each team trying to score against the other team. The players run on the ice instead of skating while using a "broom" to control the ball and score. Players wear pads, gloves, and helmets.

During the 1890’s, the sport of broomball originated in Montreal, Canada, where streetcar employees played on frozen surfaces during lunch breaks, using brooms to strike a ball in an attempt to score in the opponent’s goal, much like hockey in concept.  As early as 1910, broomball had spread to other parts of Canada, where it was often played at winter carnivals.  It basically remained an informal recreational activity until 1966, when the first state tournament was held.  Since then, the popularity of the sport and the level of competition have grown significantly.

 Broomball is often played on frozen lakes and any other ice surfaces that players can find, but it is officially played on a hockey rink. Though it’s a unique sport, skills acquired in more traditional sports such as hockey and soccer translate to broomball fairly easily.  Broomball rules and strategies are most closely related to hockey, but the unique equipment makes the sport very different.  Beginners often just wear tennis shoes, but experienced players typically wear specially made broomball shoes, which have a rubbery sponge bottom that provides more traction on the ice.  

In the very early years of broomball, the Canadians did actually use regular brooms.  Over the years, players began to shorten the bristles and wrap them as tightly as possible with tape, as well as reducing the length of the wooden shaft.  Today’s specially made “brooms” consist of solid rubber heads (with no bristles) attached to shafts made of wood, graphite, aluminum, or metal alloys.  Finally, the ball is a specially made hollow plastic ball slightly larger than a softball.  

 Broomball’s popularity continues to grow throughout the United States, and around the world.  The sport is now played in well over a dozen countries across four continents.  Experienced players from Cincinnati, Las Vegas, Davenport, Orlando, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Columbus, Miami, Charlotte, Syracuse, Rochester, and Victoria have competed in tournaments, playing against teams from as far away as Japan, Australia and Sweden.



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Last modified: December 10, 2001