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10.27.2007

Broomball 

Well, after one game of broomball I currently sport a stellar GAA of 54.24. (The previous figure is completely made up.) I was pretty invincible when only one ball was in play, but once all of the balls (8-10 of them) were in play I estimate my save percentage went down to about 50-60%. I played in goal for what felt like an eternity, picked up my watch, and saw that 15 minutes had elapsed. Eventually I let another guy take the second shift in goal, then came back for the last 5-10 minutes.

Basic rules (very, very informal): put the ball into the net using your broom. Mostly like non-checking hockey except without all of the rules that noobs would find confusing (offside, icing). No stoppages of play, and there should be a general understanding that you can't score when the goalie is fishing a ball out of the net, but this understanding was pretty flagrantly violated several times by the opposing team. There's probably also rule that the goalie is the only defender allowed in his own crease unless a ball is there. We played 28-on-28, and a team could probably be unbeatable by sealing up the crease completely with 10 defenders, but that's the epitome of lameness.

I wore volleyball kneepads and played like a stand-up hockey goalie would -- stay low, spread out, go to one knee for most kick saves. The butterfly style (which I used in MIT D-league ice hockey) or slinky-for-a-spine Hasek style is probably unsound without leg pads and with multiple balls in play. The rink staff left the ice nice and snowed up for us when we began, and I had no problems moving around in boots on the scuffed-up ice. After about 15 minutes or so, the ice in front of the goal smoothed out, and moving up-and-down and side-to-side became a lot harder. At that point, just standing by one post and holding the stick out to the side might be better technique.

Team naturally seemed to divide up into defenders, midfielders and forwards. Forwards and defenders played inside the blue line, midfielders at center ice.

It's really hard to get any steam on a wrist shot with a taped-up broom; slap shots or half-slap shots might be better from any distance.

Most defenders on both sides basically sat in front of the crease and attempted to sweep balls away from the goal instead of marking the forwards. This is poor strategy in 5-on-5 ice hockey, and it's not so hot for multi-ball broomball either (unless you have enough defenders forming an impregnable wall as mentioned above). It's natural to want to face the offense and see all the balls, but unless the goalie claims the balls, the O can shoot and rebound at will. When I took a shift as a forward, I scored two or three wraparound goals with no pressure. In addition, if the defense is playing back, the goalie also has to stay back in the goal instead of coming out in the direction of the biggest threat and cutting down the angle.

Finally, although we had divided up teams by counting off odd-even, the other team ended up having all of the other players on the ice who had hockey experience. Rigged.

Comments:

28 players, 10 balls, no skates, brooms instead of sticks. How much does hockey experience really help?
 


A lot.

It's basically 9-on-9 in each zone (actually fewer if some players are sitting out, milling around near the boards, etc.) and the ice is effectively bigger since mobility is lower. So it's not nearly as cluttered as one might imagine.

Being able to run/glide around on the ice efficiently, stickhandle and in general not stand around like a statue is a significant advantage.
 


I'm telling ya, I don't care what anyone says...SoCal knows NOTHING about hockey! But yeah, it's probably better to do stand-up style of goaltending in this case, like Grant Fuhr.
 


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