Sweep Dreams: The Joys and Sorrows of Broom Hockey

Highlighted by its competitive games and electric atmosphere, the puck dropped on the 2018 Choate Broom Hockey Tournament on Friday, January 12. The tournament is an annual tradition, played for more than twenty years at Choate, open to any team of five who wants to join.

This year, there were teams from all grades, including one all girls team and one majority girls team. Ms. Alex Long, Assistant Director of Student Activities and the woman in charge of the Tournament, did say she was hoping for an even larger turnout in the coming weeks.

For many, broom hockey, or broomball as it is often called, was a foreign concept before they came to Choate, but the game is fairly simple. At Choate, the game is played five-on-five across the rink. Players compete in their shoes, causing a lot of slipping. Also, the “brooms” are lacrosse sticks with hard plastic wedge-shaped pieces on the end, the official broom hockey sticks used globally. To score, players must hit the ball into the net with their “brooms.” After eight minutes, whoever has more goals wins. Because of these aspects, it is really similar to hockey in only two ways: there are two goals and the game is played on ice.

While the game play has changed a lot over the years, the fun atmosphere and inclusive environment has always existed. Played by studnets from all walks of life, Mr. Jim Yanelli, Director of Student Activities, has always loved broom hockey for its comprehensive representation. A great opportunity for students to do something fun with their friends is what draws so many people to it, and that is what keeps the tournament going.

Will Flamm ’21, who is on an all freshman team this year, said, “We had nothing better to do than to come try it out and probably get wrecked by the older teams. We just thought it would be really fun.”

Kailey Marotollo ’19 and Julia Mackenzie ’19 also referenced the great atmosphere when explaining what drew them to the tournament for the first time. Marotollo said, “We thought it would be a great opportunity to have some fun out on the ice, with our shoes on.” MacKenzie seconded that, saying, “I don’t get to be on the ice much, so I take any chance I can get.” Ms. Long said her favorite part of it was that “so many people come out for it even to just watch and cheer. This is always so busy and so much fun.”

Another fun aspect of the game is that students are allowed to choose their own team names, which opens the door for a lot of hilarious choices. Some favorites this year were “The Pucked Ups” and “NHL Rejects.”

While Round One is already over, Round Two is only two weeks away, giving another opportunity for anyone who wants to join. So, for anyone who wants to enjoy a fun Friday evening,  enter a team and head down to Remsen Arena for some slipping, sliding, and scoring.

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