BALTIMORE (WJZ) — There’s an unusual game being played at both of Baltimore City’s ice rinks and it’s part soccer, part hockey, and played on a solid sheet of ice.
Take away the graceful parts of both games and you have what’s called “Broomball.”
Instead of feet or sticks, they use plastic representations of brooms that have had their bristles cut into a small wedge. A hollow softball sized ball is used instead of a puck or a soccer ball.
Played either in sneakers or special shoes that give some grip, there’s a lot of sliding around. It’s part skill, part survival, and a lot of falling down.
Originating in Canada, the game has been played on frozen fields but most people prefer it on ice. It’s a really popular winter sport in the states around Minnesota, with travel teams from Baltimore having gone to the frozen north to play in tournaments.
The game came to Baltimore when the DiPietro rink first opened. It faded in popularity but 18 years ago a group who had rented the ice for hockey canceled their contract.
Looking for something to generate some income and engage people, Broomball was brought back. Bob Wall heads up Baltimore’s Rec and Parks Department.
“So we filled it with playing Broomball and it just took off from there,” said Wall. “We’ve had over a hundred teams in one season.”
It’s a game for people who may not be able to skate but like a lot of recreational leagues, it’s really just a thing to do before you go have fun.
Broomball leagues can be found at both Baltimore City ice rinks. The Fall League is winding down but to join the Winter League, visit the city recreation and parks website.