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Broomball becomes popular activity for UW-River Falls students

October 10, 2014

In the Midwest, ice is an integral part of life; broomball embraces the ice by putting the competitors out there in just a pair of tennis shoes with only a stick that somewhat resembles a broomstick in their hands.

Broomball has been a part of the intramural program at the UW–River Falls for a long time. Assistant Director of Recreation Tiffany Gaulke said that it is one of the most popular sports for the intramural program. “Five or six years ago, when we had a lot more students on campus, we usually saw about 50 or 60 broomball teams. It’s pretty popular,” Gaulke said. “I think it’s one of those unique intramural opportunities that people just want to try out.”

What exactly is broomball?

The most direct comparison of broomball to a more well-known sport would be hockey. Both of the games are played on ice with the objective being to score more goals than your opponent.

In broomball, the hockey puck is traded in for a small rubber ball, the skates are nonexistent and the stick is a plastic wannabe broomstick. While hockey is six-on-six, broomball has eight players per team on the ice at all times.

In acknowledgment of the popularity of the sport, intramural broomball will be doubled this academic year.

“We usually have around 20-25 teams in both the women’s league and the men’s league. They have typically been in different semesters, but this year we are doing men’s and women’s at the same time for each semester,” Gaulke said. “I think men may be slower to register being that they are used to not having the opportunity to play until the spring and now they are able to play in the fall.”

While more men’s teams are hoped for, UWRF student Logan Berglund is doing his part in getting more and more participants signed up.

Berglund is coming into his third year of playing broomball. He has signed up over 30 Brazilian students to play in two years.

“Last year I was the only American on the whole team,” Berglund said. “We had our first game, you get penalized for kicking the ball too much, and my Brazilians love soccer, so they would pick up their stick and just kick the ball across the whole ice. We had one time when we had three Brazilians in the penalty box.”

It’s the uniqueness of the sport that keeps bringing Berglund back to broomball.

“It is unlike any other sport you play,” Berglund said. “You can be really bad at skating and get on the ice and be hitting the ball, it’s just fun even if you are not athletic.”

Berglund strongly believes there is no excuse to not play broomball.

“Broomball is one thing where you can’t say ‘I don’t know anything about broomball’ because nobody knows anything about broomball,” Berglund said.

While the registration deadline was this past Tuesday, Gaulke says it is never too late to sign up. Anyone looking to sign up for broomball after the deadline should contact the campus recreation office.

Broomball games are held at Hunt Arena. Matches are held Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays from 9-11:30 p.m.

Each team is scheduled for at least six regular season games with a single elimination playoff to follow the regular season pool play. The first games of the season will be held this Sunday, Oct. 12.