It’s a common misconception, but broomball doesn’t actually involve brooms. It’s more of a short, blunt paddle, explains John Reget of La Crescent, who plays for the Crescent Inn team. “But it still hurts when you get whacked in the shin.”
Five local broomball teams and one from Minneapolis took to the ice Saturday for the Winter Rec-Fest tournament at Copeland Park.
Frigid weather and lack of snow caused the city to cancel Family Night at Forest Hills on Friday night and the Snowshoe Scamper 5k/10k Snowshoe Race on Saturday, but the ice was fine for the broomball tournament, and the teams were out in full force.
The city provides the ice, and the players do the rest, Reget said. In the case of Winter Rec-Fest, that means ample refreshments and socialization around a bonfire.
“Broomball is a sport for everyone,” said Ron Roth of Onalaska, who plays for Earl’s Grocery and Saloon. “It’s a fun competition for people from ages 18 and 19 to over 50.”
The round-robin tournament began at 9 a.m. and went all day, with the champions crowned after the final match at 5 p.m.
The Sports Hub defeated the Crescent Inn for this year’s title.
One of the biggest rivalries in the tournament is between Earl’s Saloon and John’s Bar, Roth said. The local broomball league has been around for more than 30 years, and some of the veteran players have been hitting the ice since the very beginning.
“It’s a great event for Rec-Fest,” Reget said. “It’s a lot of fun. We’ve been sliding around all day.”
Rec-Fest continues today, with the Mighty Mights Hockey Jamboree at the Green Island Ice starting at 8:30 a.m. and the Hood Park Skate Fun Day from 1 to 4 p.m. at Hood Park and the South Side Neighborhood Center.