So you want to play ice hockey but you skate like a cat with wax paper on its paws scooting across a linoleum floor.
How about playing a sport that was started in Canada in the early 1900s -- broomball. It's almost like playing hockey without skates.
A member of the Shep's/Infotel broomball team lands hard on his side after whacking the ball during a game against PB Sports Bar in Brainerd Parks and Recreation Men's Broomball league action Monday night at Mill Park. The league, which consists of six teams, began its 12-week season in the middle of December. On Monday, Shep's/Infotel defeated PB Sports Bar to maintain its 7-0 record in the league. (Dispatch Photos by Clint Wood)
Instead of skates, broomball players wear sandshoes or sneakers. These are nothing more than tennis shoes with an inch-thick soft rubber sole with anti-clogging suction cups for better traction.
Despite this traction, it is quite common to see broomball players falling all over the rink, sometimes head over heels, in pursuit of the ball or after hitting the ball.
This sport uses a five-inch rubber ball instead of a puck and each player carries high-tech rubber paddles with wood or aluminum shafts instead of hockey sticks.
A PB Sports Bar broomball player reaches his paddle in front of a Shep's/Infotel player and steals the ball away to stop a wrap-around goal attempt in the game. An ice hockey net is used for broomball.
Originally the sticks were nothing more than straw brooms dipped in water and frozen.
In the sport's early years, corn brooms were used to propel soccer balls.
Monday night's broomball game attracted a few fans, including Junior Larson, his wife, Jan, and daughter, Keri. The trio was watching Josh Larson, their son and brother. Jan said they have attended every one of Josh's games. When asked how she has withstood the bone-chilling cold, she replied, "We just dress for it."
Some of the rules of this game include no checking, a player can stop the ball with his or her hand and a player can kick the ball from one player to another.
A game consists of two 20-minute periods. It is officiated by two referees. Each team has three forwards, two defensemen and one goalie. A hockey net is used.
The shoes broomball players wear have an inch-thick rubber sole with anti-clogging suction cups for better traction. The paddles are made of rubber with wood or aluminum shafts.
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