Not every sport on ice requires skates.
Broomball is a sport with a long tradition in Cornwall, and organizers are hoping to revive that tradition by hosting the Eastern Ontario Regional Broomball Championships at the Benson Centre from Feb. 22 to 24.
More than 500 athletes from up to 25 teams from across the region are expected to participate in the tournament, which is being organized by the Cornwall Regional Broomball Association.
The championship consists of six divisions and will see competitors of all ages, including men, women, children and seniors. Teams are confirmed from Ottawa, Kingston, Brockville, Carleton Place, Vankleek Hill, Hawkesbury, Embrun, Morewood, Crysler, Casselman and Toronto. Local team hosts are the Maxville Predators & Lacombe Construction broomball teams.
"I am pleased to welcome the athletes, coaches, officials and broomball fans to Cornwall," said Mayor Bob Kilger. "Cornwall is developing a great reputation for hosting athletic events of the highest calibre and I hope everybody enjoys our world-class facilities."
Games are scheduled to start on the Friday evening from 7until 10 p.m. Saturday games will run from 8 a.m until 10 p.m. with the finals on Sunday from 8 a.m to 6 p.m. The Regional Championships serve as a qualifier for the Provincial Broomball Championships in Windsor from March 15 to 17.
"Our goal is to introduce the sport to younger players and therefore increase the demand for ice time, with the goal of creating a local broomball League next year," said Eric MacDonald, president of the Cornwall Regional Broomball Association. "We want to bring back broomball to the levels of participation and popularity that it enjoyed in the 1970s and 1980s."
Organizers hope that the Eastern Ontario Regional Broomball Championships will open the door to Cornwall hosting a Provincial Championship and perhaps even a World Broomball Championship within the next few years. The tournament is a perfect warm-up for the Junior National Broomball Championships already confirmed for Cornwall in April 2013 at the Benson Centre.
"Broomball is a great alternative to hockey which is expensive to play," says MacDonald. "Broomball is a quarter of the cost and is close enough in play to hockey to make it a great sport to play and to watch."
All games will be held at the Benson Centre and organizers encourage the community to come out and watch.