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Hugh Cummings Photography Collection - Then & Now



(This article was written by the gentleman that invented the game of Broomball: Harry D. McCrae)

"On the May afternoon of 1912 the present version of Broomball was invented. The technique was vastly different and the casualties were much more numerous the ways the game was played then. The ball is now pushed on ice, but in the beginning the game was played of a football (soccer) field. The idea sprang from seeing a little girl swipe at a rubber ball with a small broom.

The members of the soccer team were the victims of the first experiment. Some on the 12 or 14 active citizens gathered in the town park, each armed with the family broom (which he had filched from the back porch). The sides were chosen, a few rules made, trousers rolled up, and the players set in place. There was no referee or umpire. No smaller ball being available, a regular soccer ball was used. A goal was placed on either end of the grounds. The ball was not to be pushed, but swatted or swept. Each game was to be 25 minutes in duration. Certain things were to be considered as fouls, but such rules were soon forgotten. One player was seen carrying the ball down the field on the flat of his broom while his pursuer endeavoured to dislodge it by swinging at it in a manner more drastic than lacrosse, and with more dire results. Down and across the field surged the teams with all rules forgotten while injuries mounted. It was wild and woolly, with no score (unless injuries were counted). Before the first twenty minutes lapsed, the brooms fit for action numbered three, and two of the owners were in a serious belt and dodge race towards one goal. A sudden swipe from behind and the carriers broom head and handle parted company and the pursuer flopped to the ground, unable to run further. The game ended there while the players examined and caressed the skinned knuckles, bared shins, bruised noses and black eyes, and contemplated the purchase of a new broom before returning home to be joshed about their battered appearance.

Whatever distinction was mine for having invented a new sport was overbalanced by the threats of extinction if I ever so much as mentioned broomball in the players hearing range again. I never heard of broomball again until, I think it was 1928

Now nearly 82, but young, I still carry the mark of a flying broom handle to remind me of the day we played broomball so long ago.

The first players were:

JM Dyell, Rev. James Munroe, Harry McCrae, Neil Evers, James Hogg, William Wilson, Robert Armstrong, David Sadowski, H. Steel, Argus Taylor, Jack Parkins and William Lapino.


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