About Broomball & Player Resources

History of Broomball

Broomball is traditionally a winter sport (though we play year-round) played in ice arenas and community parks throughout the United States, Canada, and a few other countries. It is a game very similar to hockey in its formation and rules, but also incorporates some soccer strategies. The game is played on a hockey rink with two teams consisting of six players on each side (a goalie, two defensemen and three forwards). Similar to hockey and soccer, the object of the game is to score more goals than the opposing team. A player uses a stick (a shaft with a molded broom-shaped head) to maneuver a six-inch diameter ball up and down the ice. Instead of skates, players wear sneakers or specialized broomball shoes to gain traction when running on the slippery surface.

Glossary of Terms

Zones/Parts of the Rink

Center Ice: The center dot where the ball is dropped at the start of each half, and whenever a goal is scored.
The Red Line: This is the line that runs down the center of the ice. When playing defense, it is the line you must cross to “clear your zone.” (See below)
The Blue Line: There are two blue lines that divide the ice in thirds. When playing offense, the ball must pass the line closest to the goal you are aiming to score on, before the runner does.
The Crease: This is the area surrounding the goal. A goal cannot be scored if a player enters the crease before the ball does. Similarly, you cannot kick the ball into the crease.
Off-Sides: If an attacking player crosses the blue line before the ball does, this is considered off sides, the play is called dead, and the ball is dropped outside of the zone.
Offensive Zone or Attacking Zone: The zone with the goal you are trying to score ON.
Neutral Zone: The area between the two blue lines. Your head is the most important thing to protect in Defensive Zone: The zone you are trying to keep the ball out of.
These terms can be shortened to “The Zone” and players should use context when determining which zone is being referenced.
Gaining the Zone/Into the Zone: references crossing the ball across the blue line of the offensive zone, which in turn gives access to the runners on your team.
Clearing the Zone/Out of the Zone: references clearing the ball out of your defensive zone by allowing the ball to cross the middle red line
Breaking out of the Zone: This is usually a series of passes or movements to move the ball, out of your defensive zone, and into your offensive zone. Breakouts usually start low and use the boards to safely move the ball.
Forechecking: This is a defensive strategy of attacking the team who is trying to breakout of their zone, and force a turnover so that you keep the ball in your offensive zone. Wings and Centers will press the opposing team’s ball carrier to put pressure on them, while the other two forwards cover the passes that the ball carrier can make.


Boards: The walls surrounding the ice. Players can use the boards strategically as a method of passing to themselves or others, as a launching point to gain speed, or as a way of trapping or killing the ball to waste time. Similarly, it can be used as a direction (i.e. – go to the boards/pinch the boards can be a direction given to a player meaning to stick their body against the boards facing the defensive player to prevent the ball from getting past them)
“Down Low”: This references the space near and behind the goal line (the red line that extends to the boards from the goal posts). It is made up of the Corners and the area Behind the net. Players may say things like “dump it down low” meaning to pass the ball to open space in the corners.
Behind the Net: The space behind the net…Often players will reset the ball behind the net to give their runners time to shift change or get open for a pass to breakout. This can also be use a direction when a player calls for a pass saying “you’ve got me behind.”
The Corners: This is the space below the hashmarks and the goal line, to the sides of the net where the boards curve.
The Slot/The Cone Zone: This is the “danger” zone when you are on defense, and where you have the highest chance of scoring when you are on offense. When a player is in the slot, it means they are on attack, and they are in the space in front of the crease. “The Cone Zone” is only used in Boston Broomball to define the space in front of the net where you should NEVER pass the ball on defense.
Backdoor: This is the space next to the far-side post where a player may camp out in the hopes of catching a pass through the slot or crease, and score while the goalie and defenders are distracted.
The Point: This is the “highest” point of your offensive zone where your defenders will generally play. You might hear a call to “drop/pass it to the point” meaning to pass it to the player in that position.
Directions: Often times, players may not be able to pick their head up to see where the pass should be and may hear directions from their team to pass it to a number of spaces. If you have the ball, and you any of these calls, this is generally where the ball should be passed:
Up/Forward: Pass the ball up the ice/towards the opposing net.
Back: Pass the ball away from the opposing net (back towards your zone). Sometimes the best pass is backwards to take pressure off the ball
High in a zone: This describes the space of the zone that is closest to the center Red Line
Low in a zone: This describes a space of the zone that is farthest from the center Red Line
Left/Right: This is always in reference to your goalie’s right and left.
Possession: Whoever has the ball, has possession.

Positions/Roles on the Ice

Goalie: A goalie protects the goal from being scored on. Common broomball rules like high sticking and hand passes do not apply to them, however, they cannot cross the Red Line with the ball.
Runners: There are five runners on the ice at a time. They consist of the following:
Center: This player takes the drop at center ice, and plays more of a “mid field” position, playing both on the attack and defense as needed, though they considered an offender.
Wings: There are two wings on each team that play to the right and left of the center. Generally speaking, wings are attacking the opposing team’s goal and playing “down low.”
Defenders/Points: There are two defenders on each team. When playing in their offensive zone, they act as “points,” often preventing the ball from leaving the zone, and preventing the other team from breaking out.
Point of clarity: All players, when playing in their defensive zone are playing defense regardless of their position, because they are defending their goal from being scored on. This looks differently for each position, and depending on the style of defense your team is choosing to play. Similarly, when in the offensive zone, all runners are “on offense” or playing offensively because they are trying to score on the opposing goalie.
A Line or Lines: A group of players who are playing together as a unit, usually paired to compliment one another’s skills. Generally speaking, they should try and take shifts that align with one another to maximize the time out on the ice together.

Actions you can take on the Ice

Shoot: Hit the ball with the intention of scoring. There are several types of shots you will see including but not limited to: Forehand, backhand, wristers, slapshots, flip/lift, windmills,
Pass: To hit the ball with the intention of giving possession to a teammate. There are several types of passes you will see including but not limited to: Shot pass, kick pass, flip pass, hand pass (this can only be legally done in the defensive zone, or as a way of passing to yourself), drop pass.
Clear: Get the ball out of the zone by any method even if it means icing the ball, or passing to open space.
Run with/Carry the ball/Skate: This means that the player should not pass the ball, and usually means that they have room to move a bit before passing. It is similar to dribbling the ball in soccer, by tapping the ball in small movements to yourself while moving across the ice. A breakaway is a situation in which you would run fast with the ball. Usually this is when a player has no defenders in front of them and a clear path to the goalie.
Stick Check (and slashing): A stick check is the upwards motion of hitting or knocking the opposing teams stick. You do this to divert their stick so that they cannot collect a pass or redirect the ball. This is legal anytime the ball is around and, depending on the ref you ask, it is legal at any point to distract a player on the ice (some refs may argue that it is interference). The opposite of stick checking is slashing and is not allowed at any point. It is the downward motion of your stick on another players stick or body. The only time this motion is allowed, is if you are playing the ball, and the other player is in the way.
Switch: This means temporarily switching positions with another player. Often this happens if a player has momentum, or wants to pull the defense out of position. If a player calls a switch, you should play that players position until they come back or you call them back.
Sub/Change: All subbing happens on the fly or when a whistle has been called. Shifts should only last 1-2 minutes, so subbing should happen often. The person coming onto the ice, should only do so when the player is close to the bench, and neither player should play the ball when subbing to avoid a “too many men” call. The person subbing in should also watch off-sides if they are in their offensive zone. The optimal time to sub is when your team has possession. You should avoid subbing when the other team has possession.
Cycle: These circular/triangular running/passing patterns usually happen when your team has possession to create opportunities for passing and scoring, and confuse the opposing team’s defense.
Screen: A screen consists of blocking the view of the goalie. Any player can screen the goalie, and as a defender, you should be aware of when you, a teammate, or the opposing team is screening the goalie, since they then won’t see a shot coming (The goalie will typically yell SCREEN, or something along those lines). When the goalie is being screened by the opposing team, you can use your body to move them, but you cannot extend your arms.
Reset: Resetting the ball is to settle and get the ball back to a player who isn’t pressured so everyone has time to get back into position or restart a play. Usually when a player hears “reset” they should take a breath before making any big moves.
Rebound: When a shot is taken, and no goal is scored, both teams should try to retrieve the ball and either reset, shoot, or clear the ball.
Win a 50/50: This refers to there being an equal (50%) chance of you and the opposing team getting the ball, and it comes down to whoever puts in more effort or is quicker to get there. Winning a 50/50 usually leads to possession.
Pull the Goalie: A team can decide to pull their goalie and replace them with another runner to have an advantage over the other team. That person usually will play what is called “last back” which means that while they may come up past the red line and play at the point, they need to be able to get back quickly if/when the other team gets possession. They do NOT have the same rights as the goalie. Therefore, all players should be aware when the goalie has been pulled since it can lead to an open net goal if you lose possession.
Icing: No, this does not refer to cake. If a player on the defending team, clears the ball out of their zone from behind the blue line, and it passes the opposing teams goal line, it doesn’t touch any other player, and their goalie remains in the crease, the play is called dead, and the ball returns to the lower circles to be dropped in the defending team’s zone. The only time where this can be beneficial, is when you need to clock to stop so that you can get subs. If a team on a penalty kill (see below), you can clear the ball and no icing will be called.
Shorten the Bench: In a situation where a team wants to ensure their strongest players (or best players for the situation) are on the ice, a team may choose to ask some players to not sub in when they normally would. This is almost always a temporary move that should give the team an advantage.
Penalties: If you do something in the game that is illegal, the referee will call a penalty. However, the offending team needs to gain control of the ball for the play to be stopped and the penalty kill/power play to start. In this situation (and if you THINK you had a penalty, but the ref didn’t see it), you should play to the whistle, meaning you should continue to play until the whistle is blown. For a full list of penalties, see the rule book.
Penalty Kill: If your team gets a penalty, you will have to play a person down. In this situation, you want to play more conservatively to prevent the other team from scoring.
Power Play: If the other team gets a penalty, they will be playing a person down, which means your team has an advantage for a short amount of time. In this situation, you want to play more aggressively to try and score. If the other team gets the ball, you might hear something along the lines of “two players on the ball” which literally means two players should be attacking the person with the ball to cause a turnover and gain possession.

Recommended Gear


Your head is the most important thing to protect in Broomball or any high impact sport. Hockey Helmets provide the most coverage, and protection from all things Broomball. Also, don’t skimp on the face coverage – get a cage. Can you technically play with a bike helmet? Sure. Is that going to do as good a job keeping you safe? No.
Hockey Helmets like CCM and Bauer can be purchased at any sports store or online. We recommend going to a store like Dick’s first to learn what helmet you like best, and what size to go with, and then do some price comparisons online.


Pads – Falling will happen, balls will be shot hard at your body, and sticks will inevitably make contact with limbs. In order to make the game as pleasant as possible, we recommend the following pads.

Leg Protection: When thinking about protecting your legs, you want to focus on your shins and your knees. Your shins will be the victim of many slap shots and rogue sticks, while your knees are more likely to be destroyed by the ice if you fall. Also, as your skills develop, they prove helpful when sliding intentionally on the ice.
An affordable option for your legs are soccer shin guards, and volleyball or rollerblade knee pads. They are simple, and allow for flexibility when running. You can also go with a combined shin and knee pad like what is sold at https://broomball.com/hagan-h-6-knee-shin/

Arm Protection: Gloves are the most important part of arm protection. It is highly recommended that you use a padded glove to protect your fingers from slashing and shots. You can go with really any hockey, men’s lacrosse, or broomball glove to protect your hands. Since these can be pricey, check out Play It Again Sports: https://www.playitagainsports.com/home to find used gloves.
Another part of your arms you may feel inclined to protect are your elbows. Really, any elbow pad that offers flexibility will do, but an affordable option can be found here: https://broomball.com/super-flex-knee-elbow-pad/

Body Protection: Some players also choose to wear chest protectors, or hockey padded shorts. Men, don’t forget a cup…


Broomball shoes are one of the most helpful tools on the ice. They allow you to run with more confidence than your sketchers allow. Everyone prefers different shoe brands but the main ones to look for are Hagan, Acacia, or DGel. Unless you are planning on playing outdoor, avoid the shoes with the holes in the soles.


There are a few elements to think about when buying a stick. First: stick length. What position are you playing? If you are playing offense your stick will be shorter and geared towards shooting, than a defender whose focus is on stretching further to stop or steal the ball. Some players choose to buy lacrosse stick shafts and cut them down to the length they want.
Next, you want to try out a variety of heads before you buy something that doesn’t work for you. Heads now come with curves to make harder passes, and to shoot with a hockey hook shot, but these don’t work for everyone. Try out a variety of options before selecting the one that works best for you.

Midwest Broomball sells stick parts separately so you can purchase and assemble a “Insert your name here” stick.

Player Resources

Defensive Play – Box Plus 1

Box Plus 1 to a Breakout

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