As any broomballer will tell you, the shoes are an important piece of equipment. But some shoes are more special than others.
Two years ago, the Roadhouse defended its Bob Park/Northern Cup Championship title after goalie Jay Glass borrowed Park’s broomball shoes from his widow, Crystal Birmingham.
Last year, Glass wasn’t on the team. They finished fourth.
This year, Glass and the shoes were back in net as the Roadhouse regained their title at Takhini Arena on Sunday, beating Coyne 2-1 in the finals.
“Two years ago, Crystal lent me Bob’s shoes because I don’t have broomball shoes, so I’ve been wearing Bob’s shoes,” said Glass. “So we think that’s kind of a push for us to do well.”
Park was a sport enthusiast and owner of the Roadhouse Bar and Grill in Whitehorse. He died of pancreatic cancer in August 2006.
“I have a couple things working in my favour; I used to be a goalie in lacrosse and I find it very similar,” said Glass. “Even though (Coyne) got lots of shots, there’s no rebounds and I see everything. And most of the shots are from far out, so I think our defensive play was good.
“And I think a lot of us want to play well in this tournament because we were friends of Bob (Park).”
Coyne did get a lot more shots on net, outshooting Roadhouse 11-3 in the second period, but the quality of the shot wasn’t always there, said Coyne captain Chris Saunders.
“The kids are still more brawn than brain – they just want to hammer the ball – and they’re not too sophisticated around the net,” said Saunders.
Down 2-0 with a minute to play, Coyne stepped up their offence, getting five shots on net, with the last going in off the broom of Saunders, whacking the ball through traffic while sprawled on the ice.
Scoring for the Roadhouse were Rob LaRose, with a backhand on his team’s first shot on net just 2:34 into the game. The Roadhouse then scored again, this time on their first attempt of the second period, with rookie Burt Stephens doing a spin-move along the boards to get in close, knocking in his own rebound.
“He had a blast and I think he did quite well too,” said Glass of Stephens, who was playing in his first broomball tournament.
The final standings for third and fourth are unfortunately unclear since the game for third place, which was supposed to be between Capital Towing and the Klondyke Dental Donkies, was cancelled. The two teams also met in last year’s finals, with the Donkeys taking the title.
Although there were rumours the two teams didn’t want to play each other because of animosity stemming from a near-brawl during their encounter in the round-robin, Milford Allain, president of the Yukon Broomball Association, cited fatigue as the reason for the cancellation.
“They were so tired they said they didn’t want to play each other,” said Allain. “It was a conjoined effort not to play.
“We could go with the standings, but it’ll probably end in a coin toss.”
In the end, Capital Towing was awarded third, having beaten the Donkeys 2-0 in the round-robin.
Despite the absence of a bronze-medal game, the tournament was deemed the most successful in its history by organizers.
Not only did the tournament have more teams than ever before, with 11 participating, but it was the first time teams from outside Whitehorse competed, with two from Yellowknife and two from Alaska, making the tournament an international event.
“There’s been a rumour that people always wanted this tournament to go a little bigger than it has been, so I got on the phone and made a few contacts,” said Allain. “So we made a few contacts in Alaska and the guy there is originally from Canada, so he started broomball in Homer, Alaska, and he said, ‘Yeah.’
“Normally, the most we have is seven.”
Another change to this year’s championship was the timing scheme used, going from three 20-minute periods to two 18-minute periods, to coincide with the practices of the Canadian Broomball Association.
“We’ve changed to that format because we’ll be competing outside at the Western (Championships) and the Worlds, so we wanted to go with that style,” said Allain.
Last November, two Yukon Teams competed at the World Broomball Championships in Burnaby, BC, with the co-ed team losing in the finals to a team from Japan.
So far, the Yukon Broomball Association is unsure what teams might go to the World’s in Innsbruck, Austria, in November 2010.
Next year’s Northern Cup Championship will be hosted by Yellowknife.
1st Roadhouse (Whitehorse)
2nd Coyne (Whitehorse)
3rd Capital Towing (Whitehorse)
4th Klondyke Dental Donkeys (Whitehorse)
5th Arctic Response (Whitehorse)
6th Yellowknife Ravens (Yellowknife)
7th Duggan’s Pub (Homer, Alaska)
8th Swamp Donkeys (Yellowknife)
9th Flippers Pub (Whitehorse)
10th Builder’s Supplyland (Whitehorse)
11th Big City Ballers (Anchorage, Alaska)
Contact Tom Patrick at