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What is broomball?
Broomball is a sport that is very similar to ice hockey – both are played on ice, with similar tactics and skill sets – with one key difference: broomballers take to the ice in shoes, designed with a rubber sole to provide traction. The game was invented in Canada in the early 20th Century primarily as a way to introduce people to ice hockey who couldn’t skate, or else to help develop the skills and fitness of hockey players when they weren’t skating. Broomball has increased in popularity throughout the world in the past twenty years; although Canada and the United States are the powerhouses of world broomball, the sport has become more popular in Australia (played in Sydney, Adelaide, Canberra, and Townsville), Japan, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, and Austria.
What are the similarities? How will playing broomball help me as a hockey player?
Tactics: game play and setup is virtually identical between the two sports.
Positions: as with tactics, the on-ice positions are the same – a goaltender, two defensemen, two forwards, and one centre.
Fitness: in broomball you can’t rely on your skates to do your work for you. If you want to build up your hockey fitness, especially in your legs and core, then playing broomball regularly will be a great help. The fact this fitness is replicated in an on-ice scenario (as opposed to cross-training off-ice with different temperatures, humidity, etc) is a bonus.
Stick skills: if you can handle a puck well, you can handle a ball well. The basics of stick skills – e.g. close control, dribbling – can be utilised effectively with ball or puck.
Rules: the rules are very similar between hockey and broomball.
Increase ice time: the importance of simply being on the ice, practicing your basic skills in a sport that is very similar, cannot be underestimated. This is not just for stick skills, but also intangible qualities such as vision (for a pass or shot), hand-eye coordination (especially for goalies), etc.
Teamwork: develop the extremely important skill of teamwork in a sport that is, in terms of tactics and game play, extremely similar.
What are the other benefits of playing broomball?
Low impact: the rubber-soled shoes provide cushioning, making this an ideal sport for those who have a history of knee, ankle, or hip problems. The reduced speed of broomball also results in less impact injuries.
Fun: until you’ve jumped on the ice in a pair of shoes and hit a ball around, you won’t know how much fun broomball can be.
Representative opportunities: due to broomball being a relatively small sport in Australia, you have the opportunity to represent your state and country. The Victoria Thunder state team plays at the annual National Championships held around Australia (2013 in Adelaide in April), and the Australia Dingoes national team plays at the biennial World Championships (2012 in Ottawa, 2014 in Japan). Broomball encourages a traveling culture, with other tournaments held around Australia and the world during the year.
Promote ice sports culture: playing broomball will see you promoting ice sports and promoting an ice sports culture – vital to the continued growth of ice sports in Australia.
Inclusive sport: our competitions are flexible, allowing for single gender, co-ed (mixed), and junior competitors. Broomball is a truly family sport, in which you can set up a team with your brother, sister, parents, and friends.
Play non-checking or checking: currently we only offer non-checking competitions, however if interest increases, we are happy to look at playing checking competitions.
Equipment supplied: Broomball Victoria provides broomball shoes, sticks (called brooms), and balls. All your own hockey equipment is perfect for broomball – helmet, gloves, elbow guards, knee/shin guards, and other protective equipment you may wish to wear.
Is broomball trying to steal hockey’s ice time?
Absolutely not – we have worked hard with Medibank Icehouse management, Ice Sports Victoria, and Ice
Hockey Victoria to find a regular timeslot that does not impact other sports. Of course we hope to get access to better ice time in the future, but the more people who play ice sports and build an ice sports culture, the more likely Ice Sports Victoria will be able to mount a case for another ice rink in Melbourne – an outcome that will suit absolutely everyone.
When do we play? How much does it cost? What do we do in broomball sessions?
Due to very limited ice time, sessions are run fortnightly on Saturday nights, 10:00pm-11:30pm. All broomball sessions are run from the Medibank Icehouse, the finest ice sports facility in Australia. With enough interest we hope to make this a weekly instead of fortnightly timeslot.
Sessions are currently made up of coaching in the basics of broomball (control on ice, passing, shooting, tactics, positioning) and scrimmage matches. They are designed to be fun and inclusive so that anyone can join in, regardless of experience or ‘sporting skill’.
Cost: broomball remains one of the cheapest sports to play anywhere in Melbourne. Saturday night sessions are a maximum of $20pp (discounts for new players) – which allows you up to 1.5hrs of ice time. The cost is $5 for new players (those who have never played broomball before) for their first session, then $20 per session thereafter – still very affordable considering the very high price of hiring the ice (currently around $320/hr). This price structure is temporary until we establish a formal competition.
What is the future of broomball in Melbourne?
Broomball Victoria runs broomball in Melbourne, and is a new organisation looking to establish the sport on very limited ice time and in a tough sporting market. At the moment we are running coaching and scrimmage sessions on Saturday nights to attract new players. In the near future, however, we are looking to establish a competition of 4-6 teams and splitting the costs between teams. This will enable players to build their own teams of friends and family and reduce the overall costs of playing broomball and, over time, develop the skills of our players. In the future, with access to ice time, we may look at expanding into checking
New South Wales, Queensland, ACT, South Australia, and Victoria.
Women's and Mixed (non-checking)