History of Broomball at Michigan Tech

Broomball has been played by Michigan Tech students all the way back to the 1950s. Originally, broomball started as a Winter Carnival event, and games were played cross ice at Dee Stadium.

Broomball expanded to more than a Carnival event, and by the early 1980s, residence halls had leagues. Alumni from broomball’s early days remember there being only two rules—how many inches of broom bristles needed to show below your tape and that brooms couldn’t be used as a bat against other players.

Previous iterations of broomball on campus happened in rinks located in the parking lot across from McNair Hall and in the space now occupied by the Rozsa Center. They were played with under-inflated soccer balls and without shin guards, elbow pads or helmets.

Broomball itself was invented in Canada some time in the early 1900s. Tech continues the original tradition with tennis shoes and duct-tape covered brooms.

IRHC Broomball first began in the early 1990s. The earliest rules on record date back to 1994-1995. As a subcommittee of the Inter Residence Hall Council, the IRHC Vice President served as the original Chair. This did not change until this decade, which saw the first Chair apply and be chosen by a selection committee. Teams originally paid a team fee, which was dropped in favor of a player fee in 2003 to make sure that players were actually playing and not just holding a spot so a team could be in a certain conference. This year also required that at least five members from the team must have residency in their league and that players could only play on two teams. In the beginning, teams would just “apply” to a league and did not have to have any members with that residency.

IRHC Broomball originally began with only one rink. This full-sized playing surface was located on the site that now contains the Rozsa Center. The rink location was changed during 1997 because of construction. Since it displaced the statue site of Phi Kappa Theta, the statue that year by the fraternity actually incorporated the rink into its design.

The second rink was added for the 2003 season. This rink was originally added to allow more ease to reschedule games due to weather. These two rinks had to be made smaller than the previous full-size rink. Scoreboards were also created when the second rink came into existence.

In 2001, Broomball had 126 teams split into four leagues: Wads, McNair, DHH, and Women’s. The Wads league was not split into West and East Wads leagues until 2003. The Off Campus league was not added until 2004, when it consisted of 12 teams. The Off Campus league was nearly eliminated completely the following year, since it was not believed that IRHC should be in charge of all players, but this decision was revoked at the last minute.

More safety equipment has been added since the sport brought to Tech. As late as 2001, goalies were not required to wear helmets while out on the ice. Residence halls also originally bought helmets for their leagues, but this was discontinued after helmets kept being stolen. Nets were also not added behind the goals until 2003. Elbow pads were allowed to be worn by players starting in 2003. Waivers were also added after the 1999 season, when two lawsuits were threatened after some players sustained a broken ankle and a concussion.

Other rules have also changed in Broomball. Originally, teams could only have two off-campus players, which increased to five in 2003. Tie games also used to be ended in a shootout, which also changed in 2003 to two sudden-death five minute overtime periods. This was also dropped to one sudden death overtime period during the regular season, with unlimited overtime periods during the playoffs.

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