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Women’s broomball popular at UWRF

October 16, 2008

With 47 teams and just shy of 700 players competing, women’s broomball is by far the most popular intramural activity offered through rec and sport facilities.

Played on the ice at Hunt Arena, broomball and hockey have some similarities. Teams consist of six players on the ice at a time including the goalie. The two sports also have similar penalties that may be called, including high sticking, slashing, roughing and interference. The intramural rules state checking should also be a penalty, but contact is present in every broomball game.

Reasons for the high amount of participation vary depending on who you talk to, but Intramural Sports Intern Charlie Sowa said he is amazed at the current craze to play broomball.

“I think some of the popularity comes from the uniqueness of the sport. High schools and universities do not offer broomball as a competitive sport option and participants are looking for something other than your typical basketball, volleyball and softball options.  The great thing about broomball is that for the most part, competitors are all on the same level,” Sowa said.

Senior Amanda Peters played on last year’s team named “Pretty in Pink” and was also a three year starter for the Falcon softball team. She said playing intramural broomball was a unique athletic opportunity. 

“It’s a sport like no other. You need to play it to realize how fun it is,” Peters said.

Women’s broomball is offered as a recreation league, due to low numbers for a competitive-only type league. Peters said even the recreational games can get pretty heated.

“You go out there thinking it’s going to be all about having fun with your friends and then someone slashes you and it’s like…OK, it’s on now,” Peters said. “It’s still a blast, but nobody likes to lose.”

Hannah Morgenson, who plays for the Hathorn Hitters, said she does not like to lose while on the ice either.

“The best thing about broomball is the competition. You can be physical and hit people and get away with it. I guess I prefer the win at all cost attitude,” Morgenson said.

Julie Larson, who plays for the Misfits, said when it comes to playing broomball, it is more about enjoying the atmosphere than winning.

“You get a chance to compete with people who might not play any other sports and you laugh a lot. It’s so much fun,” Larson said.

Ashley Norskog is Larson’s teammate and she said she also takes a lighter approach while out on the ice.

“I love playing women’s broomball. It’s a great way to get to know people and you can have fun making a fool out of yourself on the ice,” Norskog said.

From a coordinator standpoint, the broomball craze is not limited to those playing on the ice, according to Sowa.

“Having 15 fans cheering on a team might not seem like a lot, but for an intramural game it is. People even show up with cowbells and dress up like coaches to support their team.  The fans can be more entertaining than the game itself if it’s low scoring,” Sowa said.

Whether the goal is winning at all costs or simply having fun and meeting friends, Sowa said that whoever wins this year’s women’s broomball championship will have earned it.

“I firmly believe that women’s broomball is one of the most hotly contested championships we offer, just because of the nature of the teams competing,” Sowa said.

Expect to not have an early night playing or going to watch broomball contests. Games take place at Hunt Arena in the evening, and sometimes stretch into the early morning hours, as final games start around midnight. As many as five games are played with each lasting around 45 minutes.