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A variant of broomball is played by non-Russians in Moscow. See Moscow broomball.
For Broomball at Michigan Tech, see Broomball at Michigan Tech.

A game of broomball begins with a face-off
Broomball is a popular recreational ice game originating in Canadamarker and played around the world. It is played in a hockey rink, either indoors or outdoors, depending on climate and location. Broomball is very popular in the Canadian province of Manitoba, where Saint-Claude is the Broomball Capital of the World. Broomball is also gaining popularity around the world, particularly in the United States, Australia, and Japan.

In a game of broomball there are two teams, each consisting of six players: a goaltender and five others. The object of the game is to score more goals than your opponent. Goals are scored by hitting the ball into your opponent's net using your broom. Tactics and plays are similar to those used in sports such as ice hockey, roller hockey and floorball.

Players hit a small ball around the ice with a stick called a "broom." The broom may have a wooden or aluminum shaft and has a rubber-molded triangular head similar in shape to that of a regular broom. Players wear special rubber-soled shoes instead of skates, and the ice is prepared in such a way that it is smooth and dry to improve traction.

Outside North America, broomball is often mistaken for the sport of curling, possibly due to the "broom" reference in the name, although the only similarities between the two is that they are both played on ice, and that players do not wear ice skates.

Goaltender equipment

Goaltenders generally wear a full face cage in addition to thick padding on the legs, thighs, chest and shoulders. Goaltenders are permitted to use a blocker, a specially-designed rectangular glove attachment that is used to block shots. A blocker is similar to those used by ice-hockey goalies.


A typical game of broomball is broken up into two or three periods. Each team has a goaltender plus five other players, typically two defenders and three attackers (two forwards and one center). If the ice surface is especially small, some leagues use fewer players on the ice.

The object of the game is to score goals into your opponent's goal/net. The team with the most goals at the end of a game is declared the winner. In some tournaments, if the scores are tied after regular time, an additional overtime period is played to determine a winner. In the overtime period (in most cases), six players, three on each team, play five minutes without a goalie. The team to score more goals in the overtime period is declared the winner. In the event of another tie, a second overtime period may be played. In some games a shootout period will be played. The shooter has the choice to have the ball placed a specified distance from the net or, like in hockey, can play the ball from center ice.


Broomball games are controlled by two on-ice referees. Both referees have the same powers to call all penalties, off-sides, goals, and so on. There usually are off-ice officials as well, depending on the level of the game being played, including a scorekeeper, a timekeeper, a penalty timekeeper, and goal judges.

Referees are generally required to wear black and white vertical-striped jerseys, with a red arm band on one arm. They use this arm to signal penalties throughout the game.


There is no known fully accurate history of broomball. The general consensus is that modern broomball originated in Canada. Some think it came about by trying to play ice hockey without ice skates. However, recent research indicates that a sport similar to broomball, known as knattleikr, was played in Icelandmarker in the 10th century. The sport was almost considered warfare, with the occasional death not uncommon, and games could involve whole villages and lasted up to 14 days. Writer Hord Grimkellson reported that, in a game between Strand and Botn, that "before dusk, six of the Strand players lay dead, though none on the Botn side."

The first recorded broomball games in North America were in Torontomarker in 1909 and Ontariomarker in 1911, although there is some evidence to suggest broomball was being played as early as the 1890s. From Canadamarker the game spread south to the United Statesmarker, becoming especially popular in Minnesotamarker, where by the 1960s a broomball community was thriving.

Broomball spread internationally over the following decades, and by the 1980s, organized broomball was being played in Australia, Japanmarker, Swedenmarker, Italymarker, Germanymarker, and Switzerlandmarker.

World governing body

The International Federation of Broomball Associations (IFBA) is the world governing body of broomball. Its headquarters are in Canada.

Every two years the IFBA runs the World Broomball Championships (also known as the Challenge Cup), an international event with teams from around the world. Historically, the championships have been dominated by the North Americans teams.

United States governing body

The American organization recognized by the IFBA is USA Broomball. They are responsible for sanctioning tournaments, training and certifying officials, and recognizing state governing bodies regarding broomball. The states that currently have governing bodies recognized by USA Broomball include Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, and Ohio.USA Broomball also organizes and oversees the annual USA Broomball National Championships. In odd-numbered years, Minnesota (the unofficial U.S. broomball capital and home to the majority of broomball leagues and teams in the country) hosts the National Championships. In even-numbered years, a different state with an officially-recognized state organization hosts the tournament.Below is a list of recent hosts of the National Championships.

Broomball around the world

Broomball is now an established international recreational sport, played in many countries around the world. Canada and the United States are the "powerhouse" nations of the sport, with their local representative teams often battling in prestigious tournaments held annually across North America.

Broomball is becoming more popular internationally, as well. In Japan, some top teams and players are attracted to regular tournaments. Australia holds its annual National Championships in centers across the country and is continually increasing its number of players in a country where ice sports are not considered popular. Switzerland and Italy regularly send representative teams to tournaments in North America. The UK hosts an annual tournament played at the Broadgate Ice Centre in London, which attracts North American players.

Other broomballing nations include Finland, Germany, and Russia.

The Future of Broomball

Broomball continues to grow globally. With a firm foothold in Canada and the United States and an established presence in other nations, the IFBA is now considering taking the sport to the Winter Olympics. The Canadian Broomball Federation is a member of the Canadian Olympic Committee, the first such national broomball body to achieve this, and it is expected other federations will soon follow.

Cincinnati, Ohio recently embraced broomball with a league formation in the city's most public space, Fountain Square. The Fountain Square Broomball League consisted of two conferences, eight divisions, and 24 teams. There was color commentary, slow-motion instant replay on the Square's LED board, and a championship game called the Contusion Bowl FSBL.

The future of the sport looks bright. Marketed as "the alternative team sport on ice," broomball offers a less-confrontational alternative to ice hockey. At the elite level, broomball is a fast-paced with highly skilled players. At a social level, broomball is enjoyable for all players regardless of sporting skill.


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