Broomballers from Alaska and Canada met at Kevin Bell Arena in Homer last weekend to compete in a broomball tournament.
Two Homer teams, two Bethel teams and one Canadian team took to the ice Friday and Saturday with their brooms and special shoes. Friday was a round robin with the real action happening Saturday. There was a fitting start to the competition on Friday night with the singing of the Canadian National Anthem. Canada happens to be the birthplace of the sport.
The opening game was between Homer’s own Beluga Lake Bombers and the team from Whitehorse. For the uninitiated, Alice’s Champagne Palace Scoundrels Captain Josiah Campbell explained broomball.
“Broomball is a co-ed, non-contact ice sport played without skates and played with special shoes that allow you to run on the ice without slipping too much. It is played very similarly to hockey. I would say it’s more a cross between hockey and lacrosse or hockey and soccer. It’s a slower game because you’re running and not skating,” he said.
Broomball is played in two periods that last 12 minutes each. And it can be a little difficult to actual make any goals.
“The broom itself seems very poorly designed to move a ball from Point A to Point B, and that’s part of the challenge of the sport. You’re given an implement which is not ideal to move a ball into a goal,” Campbell said.
Because of that, it’s not unusual for games to go past regular play. Three games in a row ended with tie scores Saturday. That meant overtime… triple overtime in some cases. In broomball, once you cross into triple overtime territory, you put your best five players against the goalies and have a good-old-fashioned shoot out. But what happens if the score still remains tied? You run through another five players.
Eventually though, the teams made it through the remainder of the competition with a final re-match between the Bombers and the team from Whitehorse. The Canucks captured the win. In overtime, of course.