Wisconsin is an oasis for those who like to get outdoors and play. With 15,000 lakes, countless forest trails, around 50 inches of snow annually, our state is the ideal place for snow sports and family retreats. Heartwood Conference Center is on the banks of the gorgeous Hoinville Lake, which freezes into a backyard ice rink each winter. You can enjoy all the best things to do in Wisconsin in winter while staying at our retreat center, including pond hockey, snowmobiling, and ice fishing. But one of our favorite winter activities in Wisconsin is a little more obscure: broomball. This fast-paced sport requires no experience and very little equipment. Here’s how to play.

How to Play Midwest Broomball

If you have a basic understanding of soccer or hockey, you know the main rules of broomball. While there are professional broomball leagues, which you can watch on TV or online, a backyard game during Wisconsin family vacations doesn’t need to follow each and every regulation. Here in the Midwest, we make the most out of our long winters with casual, fun-filled games, so Midwest broomball is all about light-hearted sportsmanship.

Equipment You’ll Need:Man playing Midwest broomball

  • Like most of the fun things to do in Wisconsin in winter, you’ll need warm, waterproof clothing.
  • Midwest broomball also requires a helmet that covers your ears and, ideally, your face. A hockey or ski helmet will work, but you can also purchase a true broomball helmet endorsed by USA Broomball.
  • Some of the best winter activities in Wisconsin were created with household items. Broomball started just as it sounds —with brooms! Broomball leagues use a special broomball stick, but a real broom will work just fine for beginners.
  • A broomball has a six-inch diameter and resembles a small soccer ball. A soccer ball or kickball will work for a casual game. Almost everyone has one of these, so broomball is one of the most accessible things to do in Wisconsin in winter.
  • Waterproof shoes with strong traction are a must! You can buy special broomball shoes if you like, but water protection and grip are the priority.
  • The ice is hard, so shin, knee, and elbow pads are recommended.
  • Gloves will protect your hands from the cold and impact with the ball. You should always bring gloves on Wisconsin family vacations in the winter because the wind can get chilly.
  • Most ice rinks provide standard hockey nets, and those will work for broomball. Regulation broomball nets are slightly smaller.

Basic Rules:

  • Each team can have six people on the ice at a time. This is one rule you won’t want to break because too many people make the game more difficult and less safe.
  • No checking is allowed. Heartwood Conference Center encourages some friendly competition for Wisconsin family vacations, but broomball is not a violent sport.
  • Raising your stick to hit a ball above shoulder level is considered a high broom. That’s not allowed and results in a penalty.
  • Just like in hockey or soccer, hit the ball into the net. The goal is to get more goals! To make the game a little more interesting, add a condition for the loser, such as buying a round at the Pine Lodge Restaurant.

Best Things to Do in Wisconsin in Winter

Whether you’re a seasoned broomball player or you’re stepping onto the ice for the first time, Heartwood Conference Center invites you to play on our beautiful Hoinville Lake. You’ll never have to stay cooped up inside when you visit us in Wisconsin. Call 800-577-4848 to book your snow sports getaway.