Broomball - Odessa’s Sport Is Alive More Than Ever
In the village of Odessa, a unique sport has become a big part of the community, creating bonds of friendship and promoting physical fitness for nearly five decades. The story of Odessa's broomball league dates back to 1983 when Annette Gaetz brought the game with her when she moved to the village. Today in Odessa, there are two men's teams, a women's team, a junior boy’s team, and combined bantam and midget teams with both boys and girls.
Broomball in Odessa is a sport for all ages and genders, welcoming participants as young as 10 and extending the joy of play until the age of 60. With recreational mixed leagues accommodating players of all skill levels, from beginners to the experienced, it fosters inclusivity by enabling both males and females to play together. It is a sport that you can play for a long time and at different levels of competitiveness and is available for all to play.
"Broomball is a fantastic sport for physical fitness; you're constantly running or jogging, unlike the gliding in hockey. From a social perspective, this aspect is often as enjoyable, if not more so, than the game itself. The tight-knit broomball community ensures familiarity among members, creating a close, interconnected group,” explains Annette Gaetz.
Annette continues, “Social activities, including banquets post-provincials, nationals, or tournaments, contribute to the overall experience. Weekend trips to tournaments and hotel stays provide excellent opportunities for meaningful connections, making broomball not just a game but a great avenue to meet people and form lasting friendships, both within your community and across the province."
Behind the scenes, volunteers are the backbone of Odessa's broomball league. From coaches and managers to board members and tournament organizers, the entire operation is a labour of love by dedicated community members. Their commitment ensures the sport's survival and success.
What advice does Annette have for someone interested in joining broomball? “What is the worst that could happen? It is very similar to hockey and provides great exercise and most people who try it really seem to enjoy it. Broomball is a great opportunity to meet people and have a lot of fun and play a cost-effective sport.”
Interested in bringing broomball to your community and expanding on the many sports your local rink can offer? Check out Saskatchewan Broomball Association for information on their loaner kits and grassroots development programs at https://www.saskbroomball.ca/. Fun Fact: Recreational broomball teams are easily formed since a skill such as skating is not required to participate, and initial equipment costs are relatively low compared to those of other sports like hockey.