Whatever happened to …

… broomball?

Thanks to Sheila Stewart for the idea for this post.  It came via a message to me.

In part …

My husband and I were discussing our weekend broomball games during HS and wondered if anyone plays that much anymore.

This was a strange memory for me.

I had to do some head scratching on this one.  My first reaction was that I never played it.  But, upon further reflection, I do remember playing it on at least one occasion with friends at high school.

It was basically a pickup game at the local arena.  There was a league in town and, for some reason, the league owned the equipment and you could borrow it if you wanted to play.  If you read this description in Wikipedia, there’s a complete listing of the equipment that players need to wear.

In our case, I just remember a bunch of us borrowing the broomball sticks and going out on the ice with our running shoes.  We didn’t play the full range of the ice, instead opting for playing boards to boards at one end.  It was fun but, other than that once, I don’t ever remember playing it more often.  I guess we were more hockey people.

For a Sunday, what are your thoughts?

  • Do you or did you ever play broomball?
  • Do they now, or did they in the day, play broomball in your community?
  • In the article, it makes reference to broomball being one of Canadian heritage sports.  What are the others?
  • Given the very high price of hockey, would broomball be a more affordable game for kids today?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks, Sheila, for the idea.  If you have an idea for this series of posts, please add it to the Padlet here.

3 thoughts on “Whatever happened to …

  1. I’ve never even heard of broomball before. From your post, I get an image of a combination between hockey and curling. I need to check out the Wikipedia link to see if I might be right. Curious to know if others have memories of this game. Maybe my lack of interest in sports meant that I didn’t experience something that I might have experienced with more interest.

    Have a great Sunday, Doug! Thanks for your weekly walk down memory lane!


  2. 1) I remember NOT playing ringette when I was a kid, because it was played with sawed-off broken hockey sticks, and didn’t have all of the wonderful equipment that hockey had.
    2) I think I’ve seen some “broomball sticks“ somewhere in recent years. They were clearly manufactured for school use, with shorter, rounded kid-sized sticks and some kind of faux broom-shaped piece of plastic on the end — like a really old-style curling broom with all the bristles worn away and the remaining string-wrapped stub dipped in hard plastic.
    3) With regards to curling, I don’t think most people use broom-shaped brooms anymore, either, so if that’s where Broomball brooms used to come from, that might partly explain a decline.
    4) Come to think of it, with all the modern contrivances in this day and age I bet fewer and fewer homes have traditional straw brooms anymore.

    Probably the next game to be developed from cast-off cleaning equipment will be more high-tech, involving roombas driven by cell phone controllers, with the kids sitting on the sidelines.

    @MrSockMoneyHat’s recent comment: “McDonald’s restaurants don’t have Playlands anymore because all the kids have iPads.“


  3. Thanks for extending my question and curiosity further, Doug!

    In my small northwestern Ont. hometown, there would be some point in the winter that broomball became the thing. While in high school, word would get around which outdoor rink would be the meet up for a game. I think some rink “shacks” had brooms available and we also brought our own. It would often be a variety of actual taped up regular brooms or the curling broom type. There would usually be someone who took a broom or ball strike to the head. We probably didn’t bring along much protective gear.

    I recall some tournaments would be organized as well. I guess the number of outdoor rinks in our community made it possible to have spaces for the hockey, regular skating, and broomball games. Add in a couple of frozen lakes! It was good exercise and shovelling of the ice was less necessary as it would be safer if left a bit snow packed for running around in our boots. Maybe the “sport” did fade away with more preference for hockey.


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