Man playing broomball
on slippery outdoor ice
Highest governing bodyInternational 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)
VenueCanada Standard Canadian ice hockey rink with broomball markings

Broomball is a both a recreational and organized competitive ice game and winter sport played either indoors or outdoors, depending on climate and location.[1] Often played on an ice hockey rink, today it also involves organized competitions and events run by its international governing body, the International Federation of Broomball Associations (IFBA). It is most popularly played in Canada and the United States. The national organization in Canada is Broomball Canada while in the USA the two main organizations are All Elite Broomball (AEB) and the United States Broomball Association (USBA).

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 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.

Players hit a small ball around the ice or snow with a stick. Regardless of whether the stick is a broom or a 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). 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. The goal net is larger than that of an ice hockey net.

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.

A similar game called Moscow broomball is played in Russia.


A game of broomball begins with a face-off
A game of broomball begins with a face-off
Game action.
Game action.

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.


A typical indoor broomball ball
A typical indoor broomball ball

In competitive play, broomball equipment is similar to that used in the sports of ice hockey and ringette with sport specific equipment designed for broomball. Broomball goalnets are larger and have a different shape than those used in ice hockey and ringette.

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 goalies.


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.


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 peoples of 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[2] 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.[3]

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.[4] By the 1960s a broomball community was thriving in Minnesota.[5][6]

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,[7] Japan, Sweden, Italy,[8] Germany,[8] and Switzerland.[9]

International governing body

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.

United States governing body

Until 2020, the American broomball organization that was recognized by the IFBA was USA Broomball. USA Broomball folded prior to the 2020 season due to financial mismanagement. In its wake, two organizations were formed, All Elite Broomball (AEB) and the United States Broomball Association (USBA).

USA Broomball was responsible for sanctioning tournaments, training and certifying officials, and recognizing state governing bodies regarding broomball. The states that had governing bodies recognized by USA Broomball included Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, and Ohio. USA Broomball also organized and oversaw the annual USA Broomball National Championships. In odd-numbered years, Minnesota (the unofficial U.S. broomball capital and home to the majority of broomball leagues and teams in the country) hosted the National Championships. In even-numbered years, a different state with an officially recognized state organization hosted the tournament.

Below is a list of recent hosts of the National Championships.

International status

College students play broomball as a social event.
College students play broomball as a social event.

Broomball 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.

Broomball is becoming more popular internationally, as well. 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 UK 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.

Broomball is played at many universities, including: Miami University, Iowa State University,[10] The University of Notre Dame,[11] Michigan Technological University, The University of Texas at Austin, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Chicago, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Boston University.[12]

Other broomball nations include Finland, Germany and Russia.

IFBA Rules vs USA Rules

There are two main differences between IFBA gameplay and USA Broomball gameplay: the way offsides works, and the size of the net. Under IFBA rules, the red line (center ice) is the only line used to determine offsides. Once the offensive team clears the red line, the defense must work to get it back over the same line. In USA 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 nets. IFBA sanctioned games use a 5'x7' net, while USA Broomball uses 6'x8 nets. While there are other slight differences, these two are by far the biggest. 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.


  1. ^ "Home – St. Claude Broomball". 2014-02-03. Retrieved 2014-08-17.
  2. ^ tgsen. "Broomball Association of South Australia - What is Broomball". Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "History of Broomball - USA Broomball". Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  6. ^ "Vintage Broomball - Ladies Game - Minnesota - circa 1960s | HockeyGods".
  7. ^ "激安チラシ印刷でお得に宣伝広告|お店を魅力的に見せる宣伝方法". Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  8. ^ a b "History of Italian broomball". Archived from the original on August 25, 2007.
  9. ^ " - Association Suisse de Broomball". Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  10. ^ McConnell, Jana (2006-02-07). "Much more than fun and games". Ames, IA: Iowa State Daily. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
  11. ^ Dame, ENR/PAZ // University Communications: Web // University of Notre. "Intramural Sports // RecSports // University of Notre Dame". Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  12. ^ Carsley, Ben. "Sneakers on Ice". Boston University. Retrieved 2014-08-17.