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.
Moscow Broomball is played on a tarmac tennis court that has been flooded with water and allowed to freeze. Snow that falls on the court is pushed to the sides to create a bank that helps to contain the ball. Fenced tennis courts are preferred for the same reason, but not all courts in Moscow have this amenity. Goals of wood and wire-mesh are erected at each end of the court and a centre-spot for restarting after a goal is provided. The balls used in Moscow broomball are small soft plastic children's balls ("Disney balls"), slightly larger than a tennis ball.
Players wear protective gear to cushion falls onto the ice, mostly equipment intended for ice hockey. Padded shorts, elbow pads and leg guards are vital and no one is allowed on the ice without a helmet. Leg length hockey socks are worn over the knee and leg guards to provide increased friction compared to the smooth plastic of the pads – without these a player on his knees will slide a long way. The whole ensemble is then fastened into place with liberal quantities of packing tape. An ice-hockey helmet with a face cage is also worn.
Second in importance only to the knee pads are the broomball shoes. These are "sneaker" type shoes with thick soles of very soft rubber, to provide as much grip on smooth ice as possible (still not much!). These are obtained from suppliers in Canada catering to the "mainstream" variety of broomball played there.
Finally, each player (with the exception of the goalkeeper) carries a stick. These are made locally from the straw brushes used by Moscow street-sweepers in summer, giving the sport its name. The straw brush is tightly packed and shaped before being wrapped in many layers of silver duct tape, forming a rigid club somewhat resembling a hockey stick. Broomball sticks are much shorter, however, and are wielded one-handed. A wrist loop is attached to avoid losing the stick. Broomball sticks vary quite widely in length and shape according to the user's preference (and to some degree his ability in shaping and taping the straw). Some have large flat heads almost like miniature ice-hockey sticks, while others are curved into hook-like shapes designed control the ball much like in ice or grass hockey.
Moscow Broomball follows the typical layout of a ball-and-goal game like football or hockey – get the ball into the opponents' goal – and there are few rules beyond that, other than for safety. Feet may be used to stop the ball but not to propel it (this rule is interpreted liberally) and other than that only the stick may be used. In most games using a hand to fish the ball out of the pitch-side snow bank is accepted after a couple of attempts to play it with the stick.
Broomball is a contact sport. The player with the ball – or attempting to get it – may be tackled or barged; a common occurrence is for the tackling player to be sliding across the ice on his knees or chest and knock his opponent's legs from under him. Because of the low grip on the ice tackles do not need to be especially vicious to send players flying, to the delight of spectators. Players may hit the ball – with their short sticks wielded in one hand – from any position including face down on the ice. In fact, sliding prone with the stick held out in front is a fairly effective defensive manoeuvre.
Goalkeepers do not use a stick, and must remain on their knees at all times. They are allowed to catch the ball in their hands (although ice hockey-style oversized gloves are not used) and throw it down the pitch.
The lack of grip on the ice means that stopping and changing direction are extremely difficult. It is not uncommon for a player to fail to stop a ball that is passing only a few feet away, with plenty of warning, and instead to simply fall over as he struggles to start moving in that direction. Spectators agree that broomball is an extremely humorous sport to watch.
Broomball matches are played in three twenty-minute "periods"; players change ends for each half, and again during a "quick change" ten minutes into the final twenty-minute half. Most teams maintain a tradition of drinking together after the game and sometimes at the breaks during friendly matches.
Broomball teams consist of five players plus the goalkeeper. Substitution is allowed, but only at a natural break in the game – usually when the goalie has control of the ball and calls a change for their side. The opposition can also change at that time, but not initiate a change. Refereeing is performed by players from the league with three referees normally required.
Broomball in Moscow exists largely as a result of support by the embassies of several countries, particularly Britain and Germany, although foreign nationals in Moscow for commercial or other reasons now form the majority of most teams. There is a Moscow broomball league of 14 men's teams and seven women's, with matches held every winter from December/January onwards – as long as the ice outside holds. The season closes with a formal Broomball Ball event in celebration of the game, season and players.
Broomball has been played by expatriates in Moscow for several decades, but Russians have never been permitted to play. This is because non-Russians are almost invariably diplomatic or commercial personnel on a three-year posting – with the continual turnover of players on every that this implies, the standard of play remains fairly accessible and hence new arrivals in Moscow can quickly become valued team members. The league organisers fear that if Russians were allowed to play they would soon be able to field a team of players with years of experience and the teamwork developed by a consistent roster that would destroy the dynamics of the league. This issue is put to the vote each year.
In 1989 the game was drifted to Finland with diplomats. In Finland the game gained expeditious growth in a few years and skill level was relatively high among Finnish players. At its best there were 14 active teams in the national league in the mid-90s. During that time a Finnish team travelled yearly to Moscow to battle for the world championship of Moscow Broomball being many years the winner. Unfortunately the game died down in Finland at the end of the 1990s and the last organized league was played in 2000.
A similar version has also been continuously played at Michigan Technological University since the early 1990s on both outdoor and indoor rinks, with the rules differing in that official broomball shoes are illegal, but a regulation broomball is used. It is unknown whether this represents a growth of Moscow Broomball or whether it was a parallel evolution.
Field hockey is a team sport of the hockey family. Each team plays with ten field players and a goalkeeper, and must carry a round, hard, plastic hockey ball with a hockey stick to the rival goal.
Floorball is a type of floor hockey with five players and a goalkeeper in each team. Men and women play indoors with 96–115.5 cm-long (37.8–45.5 in) sticks and a 70–72 mm-diameter (2.76–2.83 in) plastic ball with holes. Matches are played in three twenty-minute periods. The sport of bandy also played a role in the game's development.
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.
Lacrosse is a team sport played with a lacrosse stick and a lacrosse ball. It is the oldest organized sport in North America, with its origins in indigenous Canada as early as the 17th century. The game was extensively modified by European colonists, reducing the violence, to create its current collegiate and professional form.
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.
A face-off is the method used to begin and restart play after goals in some sports using sticks, primarily ice hockey, bandy, broomball, rinkball, and lacrosse.
Checking in ice hockey is any of a number of defensive techniques aimed at disrupting an opponent with possession of the puck or separating him from the puck entirely. Most types are not subject to penalty.
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. It is a ball sport and is most popularly played in Canada and the United States.
Street hockey is a collection of team sport variants played outdoors either on foot or with wheeled skates, using a either a ball or puck designed for play on flat, dry surfaces. The object of every game is to score more goals than the opposing team by shooting the ball or puck into the opposing team's net. All games are derivatives of either the sport of ice hockey, floor hockey, bandy and/or field hockey.
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.
Sporting equipment, also called sporting goods, are the tools, materials, apparel, and gear used to compete in a sport and varies depending on the sport. The equipment ranges from balls, nets, and protective gear like helmets. Sporting equipment can be used as protective gear or a tool used to help the athletes play the sport. Over time, sporting equipment has evolved because sports have started to require more protective gear to prevent injuries. Sporting equipment may be found in any department store or specific sporting equipment shops.
Spongee or sponge hockey is a cult sport played almost exclusively in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, by thousands of players in dozens of leagues. Spongee is played strictly outdoors during the winter season. It gets its name from the puck that is used: instead of the hard vulcanized rubber puck that is used in regular ice hockey, a soft sponge puck is used. The sport at one time called "Tweeter" because of the sound the early pucks made.
Roller hockey, rink hockey or quad hockey is a team sport played on roller skates. It is the only quad skate team sport in existence where two teams face-off against one another at the same time. Two teams try to drive a hard ball with their sticks into the opposing teams' goalnet. Each team has five players on the rink at a time, four of whom are skaters and one who is the goalkeeper. The ball can only be put in motion by a stick, not the skate, otherwise a foul will be stated. The game has two 25-minute halves, with 15-minute halftime intermission, plus up to two 5-minute golden goal periods to settle ties with the clock stopping when the ball becomes dead. If the tie persists, a penalty shootout will determine the winner. Players – including the goalie – use quad skates, whereas inline skates are used in inline hockey. Excessive contact between players is forbidden in rink hockey, unlike inline hockey.
Ringette is a girls' non-contact winter team sport played on an ice rink using ice hockey skates, straight sticks with drag-tips and a blue, rubber, pneumatic ring designed for use on ice surfaces. Ringette is among a small number of organized team sports created exclusively for the female sex. This winter sport is one of the fastest team sports on ice. Created in Canada in 1963, primarily due to the efforts of Sam Jacks and Red McCarthy, ringette is now one of the most popular team sports for females in Canada reaching an all-time high in registrations in 2018 with over 50,000 Canadians now participating in various roles. The premier international competition for ringette is the World Ringette Championships (WRC). As of the 21st century, Canada and Finland have emerged as the sport's strongest nations.
Ball hockey is a team sport and an off-ice variant of the sport of ice hockey. The sport is also a variant of one of several floor hockey game codes but more specifically a variant of street hockey.
In ice hockey, players use specialized equipment both to facilitate the play of the game and for protection as this is a sport where injuries are common, therefore, all players are encouraged to protect their bodies from bruises and severe fractures.
Pads are a type of protective equipment used in a number of sports and serve to protect the legs from the impact of a hard ball, puck, or other object of play travelling at high speed which could otherwise cause injuries to the lower legs. These are used by batters in the sport of cricket, catchers in the sports of baseball and fastpitch softball, and by goaltenders in sports such as ice hockey, ringette, bandy, rinkball, field hockey, rink hockey and box lacrosse.
Rinkball is a winter team sport played on ice with ice skates and is most popular in Finland, where it is known as kaukalopallo. This ball sport originated in Sweden in the 1960s and from there landed in Finland in the 1970s.
Mixed hockey is collective name for the sport of field hockey that comprises both men and women on one team. A team will contain eleven players: five will be male, five are female and the goalkeeper can be either sex. Mixed hockey is not associated with ice hockey or street hockey and is played on astroturf or grass.
The goaltender or goalie is a playing position in indoor or box lacrosse. More heavily armoured than a field lacrosse goaltender, since the invent of indoor lacrosse in 1931, the box lacrosse goalie has evolved into a much different position than its field lacrosse cousin.