Last updated
2018 BOSS Strong Broomball tournament (45637604232).jpg
Indoor broomball tournament
Highest governing body International Federation of Broomball Associations
First playedModern game:
19th century Canada
Contact- Yes and no
- varies depending on country, league, and location
Team members
  • 2 forwards
  • 2 defencemen
  • 1 centre
  • 1 goalie
  • Large ball or broomball ball
  • Broomstick or broomball stick
  • Boots, shoes, or broomball shoes
  • Protective gear (sometimes)
VenueStandard Canadian ice hockey rink with broomball markings
Olympic No
Paralympic No
World Games No

Broomball is a both a recreational and organized competitive winter team sport played on ice or snow and is played either indoors or outdoors, depending on climate and location. [1] It is a ball sport and is most popularly played in Canada and the United States.


Unlike most winter team sports played on ice, organized broomball does not use ice skates. Player footwear for formal play consists of shoes created specifically for broomball which are designed to improve a player's traction on the ice. Though the sport can be played outdoors on snow, organized broomball in the 21st century is primarily played on an ice hockey rink.

Players hit a ball around the ice or snow with a stick. Regardless of whether the broomball stick used by players is a literal broom [2] or a conventional broomball stick with a molded paddle-shaped end, the stick is simply called a "broom." The broom may have a wooden or aluminum shaft and has a rubber-molded triangular head similar in shape to that of a regular broom (or, originally, an actual corn broom with the bristles either cut off or covered with tape or another restricting material). [2] Players wear special rubber-soled shoes instead of skates, and the ice is prepared in such a way that it is smooth and dry to improve traction. The ball can differ whether the game is played indoors or outdoors. The indoor ball is smooth while the outdoor ball has ridges and resembles a small soccer ball.

In a game of broomball there are two teams, each consisting of six players: a goaltender and five others. The object of the game is to score more goals than the opponent. Goals are scored by hitting the ball into the opponent's net using a traditional broom [2] or the more conventional paddle shape stick designed for the sport. Tactics and plays are similar to those used in sports such as ice hockey, roller hockey and floorball. The sport uses its own offside rules in both International Federation of Broomball Associations (IFBA) rules and American broomball rules, but both differ. While ice hockey goal nets are sometimes used, a regulation-sized broomball net is considerably larger by comparison. IFBA sanctioned games use a 5-by-7-foot (1.5 m × 2.1 m) net, while American broomball uses 6-by-8-foot (1.8 m × 2.4 m) nets.

The sport involves organized competitions and events run by its international governing body, the IFBA. The national organization in Canada is Broomball Canada while in the United States the two main organizations are All Elite Broomball (AEB) and the United States Broomball Association (USBA). Every two years the International Federation of Broomball Associations (IFBA) runs the World Broomball Championships (also known as the Challenge Cup), an international event with teams from around the world. Historically, the championships have been dominated by the North Americans teams.

A similar game called Moscow broomball is played in Russia.


A game of broomball begins with a face-off BroomballFaceoff.jpg
A game of broomball begins with a face-off
Game action. LCBGW action 2013.jpg
Game action.
Broomball played on outdoor ice with traditional brooms Michigan Tech Bromball.jpg
Broomball played on outdoor ice with traditional brooms

The sport is played on either an indoor or outdoor ice rink. Conventional play involves the use equipment designed specifically for broomball, though recreationally the traditional corn broom with tape is still used. A regulation broomball goal net is considerably larger than the one used in the sport of ice hockey, though conventional ice hockey nets are often used unofficially.

A broomball game begins with a face-off. A typical game of broomball is broken up into two or three periods. Each team has a goaltender plus five other players, typically two defenders and three attackers (two forwards and one centre). If the ice surface is especially small, some leagues use fewer players on the ice.

The object of the game is to score goals into the opponent's goal or net. The team with the most goals at the end of a game is declared the winner. In some tournaments, if the scores are tied after regular time, an additional overtime period is played to determine a winner. In the overtime period (in most cases), six players, three on each team, play five minutes without a goalie. The team to score more goals in the overtime period is declared the winner. In the event of another tie, a second overtime period may be played. In some games a shootout period will be played. The shooter has the choice to have the ball placed a specified distance from the net or, like in hockey, can play the ball from centre ice.


Sport specific equipment involves broomball shoes, broomball sticks, and broomball balls. Equipment used is either traditional for an informal style of play, or a deliberately manufactured design created for modern, formal play.

Protective equipment

In competitive play, protective equipment for broomball is similar to that used in the sports of ice hockey and ringette with some sport specific equipment designed for broomball.

Broomball stick

Broomball stick (modern) Broom broomball.jpg
Broomball stick (modern)

In traditional play, a broom is literally a broom, [2] usually a corn broom, with tape added to keep the bristles from fraying. In the modern game, a broomball stick has a shaft with a stylized paddle at the end.

Broomball shoes

Shoes designed specifically for broomball are available for purchase, but only for games played on ice. The soles are designed to give players traction on the ice.

Broomball balls

Indoor broomball balls are orange. Broomball Ball.JPG
Indoor broomball balls are orange.

In informal play, players can use any type of ball, though a soccer ball is usually used. In more formal play, two types of balls are manufactured for use. An outdoor ball is usually the color blue, while the indoor ball is the color orange.

Broomball goal nets

A broomball goal net is larger than those used in ice hockey and ringette USMC-110226-M-8136F-105.jpg
A broomball goal net is larger than those used in ice hockey and ringette

Broomball goal nets have a different shape than those used in ice hockey and ringette and are larger.

Goaltender equipment

Goaltenders generally wear a full face cage in addition to thick padding on the legs, thighs, chest and shoulders. Goaltenders are permitted to use a blocker, a specially designed rectangular glove attachment that is used to block shots. A blocker is similar to those used by ice hockey and ringette goalies. Goalie's must also wear a chest protector.


Broomball games are controlled by two on-ice referees. Both referees have the same powers to call all penalties, off-sides, goals, and so on. There usually are off-ice officials as well, depending on the level of the game being played, including a scorekeeper, a timekeeper, a penalty timekeeper, and goal judges.

Referees are generally required to wear black and white vertical-striped jerseys, with a red arm band on one arm. They use this arm to signal penalties throughout the game.


Broomball players playing on ice skates on the Terrasse Dufferin in Quebec City circa 1923 Joueurs de ballon-balai sur la terrasse Dufferin.jpg
Broomball players playing on ice skates on the Terrasse Dufferin in Quebec City circa 1923
Antique broomball - Petrolia Girls Team - Ontario, Canada - early 1900s 1900s Girls Broomball Team, Canada.jpg
Antique broomball - Petrolia Girls Team - Ontario, Canada - early 1900s

There is no known fully accurate history of broomball. The exact origin of the sport has been difficult to pinpoint. The best estimates in regards to its origin involves the First Nations in Canada, who are believed to have passed the sport on to the settlers.

The first known recorded broomball games in North America have been found documented in Perdue, Saskatchewan, on March 5, 1909, [3] though the game has also been observed to have been played by organized girls teams in the Canadian province of Ontario in the early 1900s. [4]

The Canadian style of the game is believed to have spread south to the United States, becoming especially popular in Minnesota. In 1910 a group of men would gather and play on the ice by the docks in Duluth, Minnesota. [5] By the 1960s a broomball community was thriving in Minnesota. [6] [7]

Initially the sport used brooms, usually corn brooms, and an assortment of different types of balls which were bigger than a baseball but not larger than a soccer ball. The playing area for a game of broomball took place on either a snow covered area or field, or on an area of ice created by frozen ponds, lakes, rivers and the like, until both enclosed indoor and outdoor ice rinks, usually ice hockey rinks using artificial ice became more prevalent. Today the game is played on snow mostly during organized winter festivals, but play using an ice surface, especially artificial ones, has grown in popularity and is the playing area more prevalently seen used today. In regards to equipment, sport specific sticks and balls are available and have been developed for the game with balls designed for both indoor and outdoor play, while protective equipment is similar to and sometimes identical to that found in the sport of ice hockey.

Broomball gradually spread internationally over the following decades, and by the 1980s, organized broomball was being played in Australia, [8] Japan, Sweden, Italy, [9] Germany, [9] and Switzerland. [10]

International governing body

International Federation of Broomball Associations (IFBA) logo IFBA Logo.PNG
International Federation of Broomball Associations (IFBA) logo

The International Federation of Broomball Associations (IFBA) is the world governing body of broomball. Its headquarters are in Canada.

Every two years the IFBA runs the World Broomball Championships (also known as the Challenge Cup), an international event with teams from around the world. Historically, the championships have been dominated by the North Americans teams.

International status

Broomball has been gaining popularity internationally. The sport is now an established international recreational sport, played in many countries around the world. Canada and the United States are the "powerhouse" nations of the sport, with their local representative teams often battling in prestigious tournaments held annually across North America.

In Japan, some top teams and players are attracted to regular tournaments. Australia holds its annual National Championships in centres across the country and is continually increasing its number of players in a country where ice sports are not considered popular. Switzerland and Italy regularly send representative teams to tournaments in North America. The United Kingdom hosts nights of fun games at the Broadgate Ice rink in the City of London, which attracts North American players, city workers and people just wanting to give a new sport a try. Other broomball nations include Finland, Germany, and Russia.

IFBA Rules vs USA Rules

There are two main differences between International Federation of Broomball Associations (IFBA) gameplay and American broomball gameplay: the way offside works, and the size of the net. The results of these rules are generally considered to effect the game by making both the score and the pace of play slightly slower under IFBA rules.


Under IFBA rules, the red line (center ice) is the only line used to determine offside. Once the offensive team clears the red line, the defense must work to get it back over the same line.

In American broomball, a "floating blue line" is employed, meaning the offensive team must pass the blue line, and then the defense must work to get it back over the red line.


The other major difference is the size of the goalnets.

  • IFBA sanctioned games use a 5-by-7-foot (1.5 m × 2.1 m) net.
  • American broomball uses 6-by-8-foot (1.8 m × 2.4 m) nets.

While there are other slight differences, these two are by far the biggest.

University and college broomball

College students from Geneva College playing broomball as a social event. Broomball in Action.jpg
College students from Geneva College playing broomball as a social event.

Broomball is played at many universities and colleges, mostly in North America. Some leagues are competitive while others function as a social event.

United States

In the United States, broomball, is played at the following universities:

Related Research Articles

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Hockey is a term used to denote various types of both summer and winter team sports which originated on either an outdoor field, sheet of ice, or dry floor such as in a gymnasium.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ice hockey</span> Team sport played on ice using sticks, skates, and a puck

Ice hockey is a team sport played on ice skates, usually on an ice skating rink with lines and markings specific to the sport. It belongs to a family of sports called hockey. In ice hockey, two opposing teams use ice hockey sticks to control, advance and shoot a closed, vulcanized, rubber disc called a "puck" into the other team's goal. Each goal is worth one point. The team which scores the most goals is declared the winner. In a formal game, each team has six skaters on the ice at a time, barring any penalties, one of whom is the goaltender. Ice hockey is a full contact sport.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hockey puck</span> Sports equipment for ice hockey

A hockey puck is either an open or closed disk used in a variety of sports and games. There are designs made for use on an ice surface, such as in ice hockey, and others for the different variants of floor hockey which includes the wheeled skate variant of inline hockey. They are all designed to serve the same function a ball does in ball games.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Goalkeeper</span> Sports position played in defense of ones own right

In many team sports which involve scoring goals, the goalkeeper is a designated player charged with directly preventing the opposing team from scoring by blocking or intercepting opposing shots on goal. Such positions exist in bandy, rink bandy, camogie, association football, Gaelic football, international rules football, floorball, handball, hurling, field hockey, ice hockey, roller hockey, lacrosse, ringette, rinkball, water polo, and shinty as well as in other sports.

Defense (sports) Preventing an opponent from scoring

In many team sports, defense or defence is the action of preventing an opponent from scoring. The term may also refer to the tactics involved in defense, or a sub-team whose primary responsibility is defense. Similarly, a defense player or defender is a player who is generally charged with preventing the other team's forwards from being able to bear down directly on their own team's goalkeeper or goaltender. Such positions exist in association football, ice hockey, water polo and many other sports.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Box lacrosse</span> Indoor version of lacrosse

Box lacrosse, also known as boxla, box, or indoor lacrosse, is an indoor version of lacrosse played mostly in North America. The game originated in Canada in the 1930s, where it is more popular than field lacrosse. Lacrosse is Canada's official national summer sport. Box lacrosse is played between two teams of five players and one goalie each, and is traditionally played on an ice hockey rink once the ice has been removed or covered. The playing area is called a box, in contrast to the open playing field of field lacrosse. The object of the game is to use a lacrosse stick to catch, carry, and pass the ball in an effort to score by shooting a solid rubber lacrosse ball into the opponent's goal. The highest level of box lacrosse is the National Lacrosse League.

Ice hockey rink Rink for the purpose of playing ice hockey

An ice hockey rink is an ice rink that is specifically designed for ice hockey, a competitive team sport. Alternatively it is used for other sports such as broomball, ringette, rinkball, and rink bandy. It is a rectangle with rounded corners and surrounded by walls approximately 1.22 metres (48 in) high called the boards.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Shinny</span> Informal type of hockey played on ice

Shinny is an informal type of hockey played on ice. It is also used as another term for street hockey. There are no formal rules or specific positions, and often, there are no goaltenders. The goal areas at each end may be marked by nets, or simply by objects, such as stones or blocks of snow. Body checking and lifting or "roofing/reefing/raising the puck" are often forbidden because the players are not wearing protective equipment. Shinny is a game that all levels of hockey enthusiasts can play because it requires no rink, requires no skills except ability to hold a stick and at the very least to try to touch the puck or ball when it goes by. Shinny may be completely non-competitive and recreational.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Street hockey</span>

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Floor hockey</span> Group of sports

Floor hockey is a broad term for several indoor floor game codes which involve two teams using a stick and type of ball or disk. Disks are either open or closed but both designs are usually referred to as "pucks". These games are played either on foot or with wheeled skates. Variants typically reflect the style of ice hockey, field hockey, bandy or some other combination of sport. Games are commonly known by various names including cosom hockey, ball hockey, floorball, or simply floor hockey.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Roller in-line hockey</span> Sport discipline

Roller inline hockey, or inline hockey is a variant of hockey played on a hard, smooth surface, with players using inline skates to move and hockey sticks to shoot a hard, plastic puck into their opponent's goal to score points. The sport is a very fast-paced and free-flowing game and is considered a contact sport, but body checking is prohibited. There are five players including the goalkeeper from each team on the rink at a time, while teams normally consist of 16 players. There are professional leagues, one of which is the National Roller Hockey League (NRHL). While it is not a contact sport, there are exceptions, i.e. the NRHL involves fighting.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Moscow broomball</span> Sport similar to ice hockey

Moscow broomball is a sport similar to ice hockey played by non-Russians in Moscow. It is known by its players simply as "broomball", but is called Moscow broomball elsewhere to distinguish it from the similar sport of the same name played predominantly in Canada and the US as well as Australia. There are teams for both men and women.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ball hockey</span>

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