The UNL Broomball Club is back in action and is once again looking to win a National Championship this year.
Not familiar with the sport?
Broomball is similar to hockey, but instead of wearing skates they wear special shoes with added grip on the ice. In place of a puck, a small rubber ball is used.
And of course, they use a unique stick that features a plastic broom-shaped cap at the end.
This club has pedigree. They won the USA Broomball National Championship in 2018. It has been nothing but trouble since. They couldn’t defend their title in 2019 due to a snowstorm along the route to Nationals. Then, in 2020 and 2021, the National Championship was canceled due to COVID-19. On top of that, the governing body of the sport, USA Broomball, folded.
Thus, the American Broomball Alliance was born, giving teams like Nebraska the chance to compete once again.
Club President Sam Yunker hopes the team can make it to the ABA Broomball National Championships, which he has never attended though he has been on the team for four years.
“We are looking forward to competing at the best level we can,” he said. “Excited to see how we perform at nationals.”
Over winter break, the UNL Broomball Club competed for the first time in two years at the Midwest Broomball Invitational in Columbus, Indiana.
Attending the tournament in Indiana was crucial for the team in order to get the new guys on the team experience outside of practice. They finished runner-up in their bracket in pool play but lost to the eventual tournament runner-up during the elimination games.
“On paper we didn’t perform as well as we wanted to regarding a win-loss record,” Yunker said. “I think a lot of the freshmen who had never experienced tournament play got a lot of good experience, and it brought the team closer together.”
Coming into the year the club struggled with participation numbers due to COVID. In the fall semester they were lucky to bring in a good group of freshman to boost their numbers.
One of those new members is freshman Jared Murdoch.
“I decided to join the broomball team after trying it out after the first practice and having an absolute blast.” he said. “The team felt chaotic and fun, which is my kind of sport.”
In addition to playing in tournaments the club also is a participant in a local broomball league hosted at the Grover Ice Rink in Omaha. The club plays in both the Fall and Spring sessions to get more reps.
“The Omaha league is a lot of fun as well,” Murdoch said about the opportunity to play every weekend. “Having a different vibe than practice.”
The Nebraska Broomball Club is looking to have a good spring session in the Omaha League while preparing for the National Tournament, which takes place in Minnesota from April 21 to April 24.
“We should be able to compete with any team,” said Yunker “If we compete hard and play as a team we will have a good shot at bringing some hardware back to Lincoln”