Broomball – Rules and Guide

Broomball is a team sport played on ice, usually on an ice hockey rink between two teams of six players.


Broomball is a team sport played on ice, usually on an ice hockey rink between two teams of six players.

What is Broomball?Broomball is a game similar to ice hockey, played on ice but with “brooms” and no skates.
Objective of the gameTo score more goals than the opposition befor the end of the game
Team or Individual Sport?Team

What is Broomball?

Broomball is a sport played on ice that originated in Canada.  It is similar to ice hockey in its gameplay, however there are 4 main differences in regulation broomball:

  • It uses a ball instead of a puck
  • Players wear shoes instead of skates
  • Players use “brooms” instead of sticks (hence the name…)
  • The goals are considerably larger in broomball than in ice hockey (although recreational players may use ice hockey goals as they are much more common).

Broomball is played both recreationally and competitively.

Object of Broomball

The object of the game is very simple indeed – to score more goals than the opposition.  The winner of the game is the team that scores the most points by hitting the ball into the opponents’ net with a broom.

Rules of Broomball

It should be noted that Broomball is played recreationally and rules may vary depending on the circumstances of the game.  The rules of competitive Broomball are as follows:

  • The game is played between two teams of 6 players.
  • Games last 36 minutes and play is divided into two halves of 18 minutes each.
  • The game begins with a face-off between a player from each team.  A face-off is also used to restart the game after a goal is scored.
  • Players can only score goals using their stick.  If the ball hits a player, the goal will be disallowed.
  • The broom must be kept below waist height when swinging.
  • The game is very physical, in much the same way that ice hockey is.  With body checking and lots of contact allowed.

Players and Equipment

A regulation broomball team has 6 players. One goalkeeper and 5 other players who can be defenders, attackers and a centre. Recreationally, games can have more or fewer players, usually depending on the size of the ice rink that is available.

There are several pieces of specialist equipment required to play Broomball:

The ball

An orange indoor ball for broomball
A blue outdoor ball for broomball

Broomball uses a ball as opposed to a puck.  Broomballs are generally made of rubber and are designed not to bounce too much on the ice.  Balls are usually orange or blue depending on whether the game is being played indoors or outdoors.  Recreationally, small leather footballs tend to be used as they hurt a lot less when they hit you (and you WILL get hit with the ball), and they are much more durable in very cold weather.

The “broom”

A pair of broomball sticks

Traditionally, an actual broom would have been used.  Brooms are still used recreationally in some games, where players will trim the bristles however they want and wrap it up in lots and lots of gaffer or duct tape.

Competitively however, there is a regulation “broom” which is not a broom at all.  It has a shaft a lot like a broom but the head of the stick is moulded rubber.


You can buy broomball shoes, which are designed to give players traction on the ice.  In everyday recreational games, players will wear rubber-soled shoes or trainers.

The goals

Broomball goals are significantly larger than ice hockey goals.  The size of the goal may differ depending on where the game is played and whether it is a competitive game.

Games sanctioned by the International Federation of Broomball Associations require goals to be 5’x 7’ (1.5m x 2.1m)whereas in some parts of the USA, the goals may be slightly larger – 6’x8’ (1.8m x 2.4m).

Protective equipment

Players are required to wear a helmet with a full cage on the front.  They also must wear padding on their chest, shoulders, legs and thighs. Goalkeepers tend to wear thicker padding all over and they must wear a chest protector – they can also use the blocker attachment similar to that which ice hockey goalkeepers use.


A game of broomball starts with a face-off, and the game has much the same tactics and play as ice-hockey.  After the face-off players attempt to score a goal in the opposing team’s net.  Each time a goal is scored, play re-starts with another face-off.

How to win at Broomball

Quite simply – the team with the most goals at the end of the regulation time wins.  If there is a draw in a round-robin format of a tournament, the game usually ends in a draw.  In knockout stages, the game will go to a five-shot penalty shootout. 5 of the teams players will be chosen to take the shots and the team with the most goals at the end wins.  If the teams are tied after 5 shots each, the shootout continues in a sudden death format until one team misses and the other scores.

Where can I play Broomball in the UK?

Broomball is still relatively unknown in the UK.  It is much more popular in other English speaking countries such as Canada and the USA. There have been attempts to establish Broomball leagues in the UK, but there are none at present.

Many ice rinks will allow you to book to play broomball but you will most likely have to provide your own equipment. They are more likely to have ice hockey goals available to use than broomball goals.

You can find your local ice rink via this page on the English Ice Hockey Association website:


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