Broomball is a fast-growing, exciting, winter team sport. This winter, when the weather doesn't permit you to play other sports, take a little time to create or join a broomball team. Broomball is an especially great sport for people who live in areas where the ponds and lakes freeze for the winter, but for those in warmer climates, indoor ice rinks are also great venues for a good game of broomball.
The game is very similar to hockey, but also has some key similarities with soccer. First, broomball is played on a hockey rink, which makes it a good winter sport, but a somewhat expensive summer sport. The game is played with a rubber ball; outdoor balls look somewhat like soccer balls. Broomball sticks have either aluminum or wooden shafts and a rubber triangular head, shaped somewhat like a broom.
When broomball was in its infancy, players used real brooms. However, the equipment is much improved today. In addition, broomball is not played on skates. Players wear rubber-soled shoes which give (some) traction on the ice. Indoor and outdoor shoes are slightly different to allow for the differences in groomed and natural ice.
Broomball teams have six to eight players. There are six players per team allowed on the ice at one time: the goalkeeper, two defenders, and three forwards. The players use the stick or "broom" to get the ball into the opposing team's goal. At the end of the specified time period, the team with the most goals scored is the winner. A broomball game has two 18-minute halves and can go into overtime if there is a tie at the end of the second half.
Beginning players will need certain key pieces of equipment to play broomball. First, every player should have a helmet, and if your opposition is tough a face guard can also come in handy. The governing body of official broomball in the United States, USA Broomball, requires all players to use a commercial hockey helmet with a chinstrap. New players will also need a stick, an indoor or outdoor ball depending on the venue, and a pair of shoes. Beginners can use ordinary tennis shoes. If you advance in the sport and decide to take it seriously, you can invest in specific broomball shoes.
Goalies will need some extra equipment. Like in hockey, goalies will need shoulder and chest pads. Goalies will also need shin pads and a hockey blocker glove. Many goalies also use hockey goalie masks, but a helmet and facemask will also work.
Broomball is especially popular in Minnesota, where people can get together local groups and play on frozen ponds. It's easy to get together a group of people for a pick-up game of broomball. If you don't have easy access to frozen ponds or don't know anyone who wants to play broomball with you, check your local ice-rink. You may be able to find other people who want to join together and play broomball. If you are serious, you can start playing league broomball and even compete in national and international tournaments.