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12 March 2011

Hockey with a broom or broomball
On March 12, 2011 Kirov citizens for the first time watched this sport wonder which was at the territory of sanatorium “Mitino”. This game is ranked among the most unusual sports. In addition, it has two versions: the Canadian and Moscow. But the meaning is one - it's hockey with a broom or broomball.

The history of the game
The recent research indicates that a sport similar to broomball, known as knattleikr, was played in Iceland in the 10th century. The sport was almost considered warfare, with the occasional death not uncommon, and games could involve whole villages and lasted up to 14 days. The first recorded broomball games in North America were in Toronto in 1909, although there is some evidence to suggest broomball was being played in a small town in Canada, Massey, ON. as early as the 1890s. From Canada the game spread south to the United States, becoming especially popular in Minnesota, where by the 1960s a broomball community was thriving.Broomball spread internationally over the following decades, and by the 1980s, organized broomball was being played in Australia, Japan, Sweden, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland. Broomball is popular in the Canadian province of Manitoba, where Glenella is the Broomball Capital of the World.

Game play
As an ordinary ice-hockey broomball is played in a hockey rink, either indoors or outdoors, depending on climate and location. Each team has a goaltender plus five other players, typically two defenders and three attackers (two forwards and one center). 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 your opponent's goal/net. Tactics and plays are similar to those used in sports such as ice hockey, hockey with a ball, roller hockey. A typical game of broomball is broken up into two or three periods by 20 minutes. 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. The shooter starts plaing the ball from center ice. 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.

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.

Players hit a small ball around the ice with a stick 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. 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. As in hockey players generally wear a full face cage in addition to thick padding on the legs, thighs, chest and shoulders.

Moscow broomball
Broomball in Moscow exists largely as a result of support by the embassies of several countries, although foreign nationals in Moscow for commercial or other reasons. Broomball is played on a tarmac tennis court that has been flooded with water and allowed to freeze. Once foreign representatives of business circles decided to entertain themselves and flooded a tennis court with water and allowed it to freeze. Since that time broomball is a favourite way to spend free time and to have fun for serious people.

From the canadian variant moscow broomball differs by a stick. They 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. 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.

There is a Moscow broomball league of 14 men's teams and 7 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.

Demonstration match in Kirov
Demonstration match in Kirov was brought by representatives from eight countries - Germany, USA, UK, France, New Zealand, Holland, Sweden, Switzerland. They brought theirown sport equipment: sticks, shoes, forms, full protection. It took two hours to make an every broom. Only a hockey playground was prepared by the organizers of the match.

Derogation from the rules was the formation of the teams. There were both men and women on the ice. While in Moscow they play in separate leagues. In Kirov they played one hour, three hperiods by 20 minutes. During this time, viewers watched a lot of hockey nuances such as scathing attacks, curious collision and falls. And ofcours there were goals. Broomball players were quite pleased with the game itself and the ice playground where they want to come back next winter.

Nikolay Koshcheev, the President of Kirov Regional IPA: “Probably, we will conduct broomball finale next winter where about six teams will participate”.

Russian team will be amoung them for sure. Russian players will start preparing for the tournament after they decide who can run fast on ice and play with a stick. According to the experienced broomball players Finns are undefeated now.