UPDATE: Most of the league cancellations mentioned in this article occurred during the winters of 2020 and 2021. By the winter of 2023-24, however, most broomball leagues are back and running as normal.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: With the covid outbreak spreading across America and the world, most recreational sports leagues shut down entirely. However, some leagues are still attempting to play broomball this winter.
Is it safe to play broomball right now? Which leagues are still operating during the time of coronavirus? How can you keep yourself safe if you do play? Keeping in mind that we are not medical or scientific experts, here’s what we can share.
Risks of Playing Broomball During Covid
We’ve all read the stories of covid outbreaks happening from large gatherings. Any time a group of people are together, there’s transmission risk if one of the players has the virus. They could be asymptomatic and not realize they are infected, which would them put everybody at risk.
To state again clearly: We cannot provide medical advice. However, the evidence so far does indicate that covid appears to spread more easily indoors. This is something to keep in mind.
I’ve played in both indoor and outdoor leagues. I would certainly not play indoor broomball right now, as it feels risky. There was a covid outbreak in Vermont (around 30 people infected) linked to indoor hockey and broomball at an ice arena.
Playing outdoors, like the outdoor league in played in while living in Chicago, may lessen the risk, but players are still obviously in close quarters with their teammates and opponents.
I would not play outdoor broomball right now either. My personal advice would be to take the season off and come back to broomball after the vaccine has been widely rolled out.
Broomball League Status During Covid
While most leagues are canceled, some leagues have at least entertained the idea of carrying on. Cleveland Broomball, for instance, posted a notice in August that the local health department deemed it safe to play as long as players aren’t congregating together before or after the games.
That organization created a policy which strongly encouraged players to wear masks and not to share equipment. However, it appears that the league never did schedule a fall season, despite their eagerness to do so, as they didn’t get clearance from the local ice arena.
Meanwhile, as of November, Michigan Technological University was still planning to hold its season, with mask requirements, shortened periods, and no spectators.
Conversely, the IBF World Broomball Championships were canceled in June due to covid-19.
So, to answer the question: Is it safe to play broomball right now? Our answer is a clear no. But every person and league is obviously free to do as they wish after they assess the risks to themselves and their families.