Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What Exactly is Broomball?

Broomball is one of UAF's most popular - and fun - intramural sports, but many students arrive on campus with no idea what it is or how to play it. UAF's student newspaper, the Sun Star, came to the rescue when they recently ran this piece covering the Broomball basics.

Late Night Sweeping

By JR Ancheta
Sun Star Reporter

Looking for something to do at night? Broomball is a late night activity that is growing in popularity. Envisioning athletes running after a ball with a normal heavy-duty broom is a reasonable concept, but often is inaccurate. “It’s basically just like hockey,” said Matt Anderson, a junior. “Except there’s no puck, no hockey sticks, and [no] skates.” Broomball is played on the ice rink at the Patty Center in the evenings from 10:30-12:30.

Davida Isaacs from Southeast Alaska, Prince of Wales Island runs accross the ice Monday Nov-8. "I've never been on ice before and I like to run" Isaacs said. JR Ancheta / UAF Sun Star

Broomball is a mélange of different sports such as lacrosse and soccer, but hockey remains its most predominant influence. Each team has six players, which includes a goalie, on the ice at a time but has the option to rotate players any time. Helmets are the only mandatory gear, but shin and knee protection are encouraged. Unlike hockey, slipping and falling are very common.

“All you need is experience,” said Matt Nyholm, a junior. “The more you play the better you get.” He said that having some soccer experience is an advantage in passing the ball. “Dexterity, coordination, and especially balance sure helps,” Nyholm said.

Whether it is the opportunity to meet new people or to try something new, broomball lures many to create teams and compete. “I’ve never been on ice before and I like to run,” said David Isaacs, a freshman from a remote Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska.

Tamara “T” Dale, an exchange student from England, said she took up the sport, “because I’m only here for a semester and I wanted to try everything that was unique to have fun.”

The UAF Intramural Broomball Rules state: “no sliding will be allowed during game play.” This rule was recently enforced and disappointed many broomball players. “[Sliding] made it fun because you could travel a lot faster…[and] had more control…so you could do some stunts that [are] pretty awesome,” Jonathan McMahon said. “Basically, they’ve taken most of the fun out of the game.”

Ruth Olsen, Director of Intramural Sports and the Student Recreation Center said that the “no sliding” rule came into effect numerous years ago due to injuries from the sport Olsen became aware that the rule was not being enforced during a recent captains meeting. It is now enforced for safety and liability issues. “You can go to your knees, they just can’t run five feet, slide in their knees and then hit [the ball] because they have no control,” Olsen said.

Approximately 180 participants in 21 teams are playing this season and Olsen predicts it will continue to be a popular intramural sport. Sliding or not, students continue to be attracted to the sport called broomball.

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