All Summer One Sport: Broomball

The Olympic Sport That Never Was

One of my first memories was going to the pond close to my house and playing hockey with my siblings. This pick-up style game was great, (minus the fact that none of us were very good at skating). Who knew that there was an entire sport built for us folks that are less than agile on the ice? Say hello to broomball, an exciting mashup of hockey and soccer.

While not many people today have heard of this sport, it was almost in the Olympics! Unfortunately, it got pushed aside, and subsequently interest in the sport declined. But a group of dedicated broomers banded together to ensure that this Canadian sport would always have a place in our hearts and rinks. This group subsequently formed the Canadian Broomball Federation in 1976, the governing body for broomball in Canada.

I will be the first person to admit that I am not very coordinated. However, with such a strong sense of community in the sport, having a laugh and hitting the bright orange ball is half the fun. The ball is the first aspect of the sport that I noticed was different than hockey closely followed by the lack of skates (a big plus for me). However, my favourite part of the game is the fact that you can push off the walls to get extra speed (think pinball meets hockey).

Do you enjoy both soccer and hockey, but don’t have enough time for both? Why not join broomball and experience what its like to do both sports at the same time! The rules are simple, two 18-minute halves with a 15-minute break in between. I always had trouble getting a puck in those tiny hockey nets, so I was very happy to learn that in broomball the nets are six by eight feet. Each goal results in one point for the team, just like in soccer and hockey.

While I have always been interested in other sports, nine times out of ten I cannot justify spending $120 dollars on a sport that I have never tried. This is not an issue with broomball as the club will supply you with all the equipment for the first few games, (minus a helmet) to let you try the sport before you buy your own. What other sport will assist players to this length interested in their sport? With it being this easy to begin, what’s stopping you from becoming the next broom master?

It is easy to think of Broomball as a niche sport that is only played by a couple hundred people across the prairies. However, the sport can be found in 16 countries across the globe. What better way to make friends across the world then through sport? Making these friends is even easier as world championships are held every two years. Normally they are held in Minnesota (the unofficial home of broomball). In the true sense of sport, there are no limits on how many teams from one country can compete.

Adam Pelly, president of the Calgary Broomball Association is committed to bringing the sport to as many people as possible. He aims to do this with the introduction of the Lace to the Top program, which attempts to introduce broomball to students across Calgary. With each task they complete the students get a lace lock they can put in their laces, to show their skill level (like a black belt in karate).

Have you ever heard of broomball? Chances are you haven’t, and Calgary Broomball wants to change that. This sport experienced a rapid decline in interest and subsequently registration declined, however, there is hope. Broomball is currently experiencing a revival, with more and more registrations happening everyday. I encourage everyone to come out to a game and give it a go!

There is no financial or social pressure to join Calgary Broomball, Adam Pelly states, “Come out and try it, if you don’t like, you don’t like it.” With junior membership costing $100 per season (October – March) broomball is a fun and economical choice! Click here to register!

Ultimately, if you are looking for a fun non-judgemental sport to try out, broomball is the sport for you. For me one of the biggest reasons that I didn’t join organized sport was that I felt everyone there was going to hate on me for being the new guy and slowing them down. I never experienced this at Calgary Broomball, they were by far the most welcoming club I have ever been at (even if I never scored and got three off sides).  


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Walter Woodroffe-Brown