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Winter sport broomball grows in popularity at Bryant Park

The Rink attracts first-timers and die-hards interested in playing the hockey-esque game.

Zoe Braiterman learns to play broomball at the

Zoe Braiterman learns to play broomball at the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park on Nov. 7. Photo Credit: Marisol Diaz-Gordon

No ice skates? No problem.  

Those looking for a new way to exercise this winter can try broomball at the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park, where the Rink will host pickup games for those curious about the sport and a league for the more competitive. 

Broomball has rules similar to hockey, with two main differences: It does not require ice skates (ideal for those unsteady laced up), and it doesn’t use a puck. Instead, players can wear regular rubber-soled sneakers, and play using a rubber ball similar to a soccer ball.

Park officials have seen a growing interest in the sport, which was added to the Winter Village programming two seasons ago.

“Broomball is one of our most popular activities each season at Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park,” said Irene Vagianos, director of brand partnerships and events at Bryant Park. “And, as the sport seems to be gaining popularity around New York City and across the country, we are seeing more demand.”

The Rink hosts casual pickup games, which has drawn a mix of both “first-timers as well as die-hard broomball players,” Vagianos said. Bryant Park held the first pickup game of the season last week, captured in our photos, with the next on Wednesday. Sticks and helmets are provided. Mouthpieces are optional but recommended.  

For those looking to stick with the sport throughout the winter, in January, the Rink will host a broomball league from ZogSports, the adult sports community. Those interested in playing in the league have until Dec. 6 to register, with weeknight games scheduled to start Jan. 7. Sticks, balls, nets, helmets and goalie equipment are provided.

Over in Brooklyn, broomball has also found a home for the past few seasons at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside in Prospect Park. Games are among winter offerings that include ice skating, figure skating lessons and hockey, and are offered weekly on Saturdays from 9:15 to 10:15 p.m.

The origins of broomball haven’t been well-documented, but the first reports of broomball matches are from Canada in the early 1900s, according to USA Broomball, which governs the game in the United States.  The first broomball games in the U.S. were reported in the 1930s in Minnesota, where the organization was established.

IF YOU GO

The Rink at the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park will host a free session of the game on Wednesday at 5 p.m. | Sixth Avenue and 42nd Street | bryantpark.org

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