The Yukon Broomball Association (YBA) hosted the annual Bob Park Opening Tournament from Nov. 21 to 23 at Takhini Arena in Whitehorse.
Nine teams played in the tournament, which consisted of a round robin followed by playoffs on the final afternoon.
On the ice, Sports Experts beat Na-Cho Nyäk Dun 1-0 in the final to win the tournament. Four of the eight playoff games required overtime to find a winner, and three of those games went into double overtime.
The top two teams after the round robin, Spectrum Bears and Ridge Pub, were both upset by lower-ranked teams in the playoffs.
Roxanne Stasysyzn, a board member with the YBA, said she’s happy to see the tournament growing.
“We’re really happy to say that it’s growing,” said Stasysyzn. “This year we had nine teams fighting it out for the trophy, and that’s one more than we had last year. So we see the league growing, which is great news.”
Broomball, which Stasysyzn succinctly described as the lovechild of hockey and soccer, is an easy sport to get into for almost anyone.
“Broomball is a super accessible sport,” said Stasysyzn. “It’s a sport that is pretty affordable and anyone can play. We’re a co-ed league … and youth ages as well — so long as they’re 16 years of age by Nov. 30, they can play as well.”
With the opening tournament in the books, things shift to the league’s regular season and the YBA’s outdoor rink in the Takhini neighbourhood.
Temperatures haven’t dipped quite low enough for the rink to be flooded, so the territory’s broomball players are left waiting for colder weather.
The YBA is being proactive this year after last year’s playoffs were cancelled due to warm weather melting the ice before the league could finish play for the year.
“We ran our regular season and when playoffs started, we got about halfway through and we lost our ice,” said Stasysyzn. “It was more like a swimming pool than a skating rink out there. It was the first time in most players’ memory that we didn’t get a playoffs. We didn’t get to award a president’s trophy. We didn’t know who won the league.”
This year, fees for the league have increased by $25 per player, with the additional funds going toward ice booking in case of more unseasonably warm weather.
“That’s a change of the times for sure,” said Stasysyzn. “Climate change is real — we are feeling the impacts here on our outdoor rink — and to make sure we don’t have another season without playoffs, we’ve put in this contingency effort so if we have to we can go indoors.”
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