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Condensed Broomball League Rules!

Condensed Broomball League Rules!

Most leagues throw a USA broomball or rule book at a referee and tell them to figure it out. I was really impressed with the Simsbury Connecticut condensed rules for the league. I am posting this to help any new leagues or existing leagues. Feel free to copy and paste and create your own condensed outline for your refs and your league.



SHOES - Must be free of abrasives, spikes, metal, foreign objects, or chemical applications. Boots, galoshes, etc. are illegal. Sneakers, tennis shoes or broomball shoes are recommended. GOALIES - must wear hockey helmets with a mask. ICE HOCKEY GOALIE PADS AND/OR ARM BLOCKERS ARE ILLEGAL. Brooms, balls, goalie helmets are supplied. Shin guards and gloves are encouraged. HELMETS ARE MANDATORY – PLAYERS WITHOUT HELMETS ARE NOT ALLOWED ON THE ICE.

II. SUBSTITUTION - Substitutions may be made at any time, except that a player serving a minor or major penalty may not be substituted. The penalty for too many players on the ice will be a minor penalty. A player entering play may not “play” the ball (touch, shield other players from, etc.) until the player he/she is replacing leaves the ice surface.

III. SCORING - One point will be awarded for each goal as determined by the referee. The ball must completely cross the goal line. NO GOAL IF:

The ball is contacted by either team at a height higher than waist prior to going into the net. Exception: a ball deflecting off a defender who is trying to block a legal shot and going in the net shall be a goal.
The ball strikes official and goes into goal,
An attacking player carries the ball on a part of his body into the goal.
The ball is lodged on any part of goalie’s body and goalie is propelled by an opponent into the net.
Ball propelled into goal by the offense by other than stick.
The goal has been unintentionally dislodged from its normal position. Restart will be either a face off or free possession at spot of whistle, if referee can award clear possession.


HIGH STICKING - The broom head must remain below the top of the half-boards on both the back swing and follow-through. If the ball is above the half-boards it may not be played with the broom.
THROWING or SMASHING THE BROOM against the ice, goals, boards or benches is forbidden and a violation entitles the opposing team to a penalty shot, irrespective of where the foul occurs. Breaking the stick by smashing the broom will result in a Misconduct penalty, in addition to the penalty shot.
LIFTING OF THE BALL with the broom is illegal if the ball rises higher than the top of the half-boards. (Shovel pass) Exception: A shot on goal which rises above the top of the half-boards will not be considered a high lift, unless it touches a player high (other than the goalie or a defender attempting to block the shot). When hockey regulation goals are used, the arc of a shot on goal may rise 1ft over the crossbar. Any high ball which sails over or wide of the goal is not a shot on goal.
IT IS LEGAL for a player to lift or press down opponent’s broom with his/her broom ONLY while a player is playing the ball.


The ball may be stopped or controlled with the feet but not PASSED to another team member. The ball may not be carried or held. A ball played by a player’s feet and resulting in advantage may be deemed a kick pass, regardless of player intent.
The ball may be batted down by open hand, but that player must be first to recover it for his team. The ball may not be passed in the air or on the ice with an arm, hand or leg.
Irrespective of being first to the ball, a player may not throw, bat, kick or deflect a ball with anything other than a stick such that it crosses two lines on the hockey ice without being touched.
Sliding on shins or shin guards is not allowed (playing down). No player may play or block the ball if any body part other than his/her feet are on the ice.
NO BODY CHECKING is allowed! The primary emphasis in this league is FUN! Penalties will be called for intentional or reckless checks as determined by the referee.
DANGEROUS PLAY: A player may not leave his feet (diving play) to play a ball if doing so puts other players in danger. A diving player who hits another player with his stick or collides with another player will be charged with a minor penalty.


The goalie has 3 seconds to dispose of the ball after catching it. Unless he uses his stick, the goalie must clear the ball laterally. Change of possession in the zone will be awarded if a goalie intentionally throws, kicks or deflects the ball forward to his teammates, or beyond the blue line.
While within 3 feet of the crease area, the goalie may use any part of his body to make a save.
Once outside of this area, he must control the ball as normal player.
Goalie changes: A goalie may be changed on any hard stoppage (after a goal or a period break). Other changes are “on the fly” and may only be made with the ball in the opposing half, the original goalie in his defensive zone and with notice to the trailing referee. Penalty for illegal goalie change is a minor and improperly substituted goalie does not have goalie privileges (may not play down, etc.)


PENALTY SHOTS – Penalty shots may be taken by any player on the ice at the time of the foul. Shooters will begin at blue line and proceed to goal with one shot on goal with no chance for rebound. Shooter’s momentum must continue forward until shot is taken. Missed penalty shot will be restarted at blue line by the team defending the shot. The high stick rule is eased for a penalty shot (must keep the stick head below shoulder height), as long as the shooter releases the ball before the first hash mark (lines even with the face-off dot) and controls his stick otherwise. The goalie may play the ball down outside the crease area. If a penalty shot has been awarded and time expires, the penalty shot will still be taken.
Bench Penalties – As much as possible, the referee shall enforce bench penalties (too many men on the ice, delay of game, etc.) against the players and/or gender involved. Examples: If two men substituting cause too many players, the player entering the ice shall be penalized. If too many players are caused by an extra woman, one of the women shall serve the penalty.

VIII. CREASE AREA - No offensive player may be in the crease area at any time (including the stick.) Example; A ball in the crease may not be played offensively. A violation will result in a change of possession. Exception: an offensive player pushed in the crease by the defense, who exits without interfering with the goalie. If such player does interfere with the goalie, at the referee’s discretion, a face off in the circle may be provided. A defender may pass through the crease area and may use his/her stick in the crease area. However, if a defender blocks a clear scoring opportunity while his feet are in the crease area, a penalty shot will be awarded to the attacking team.

IX. HIGHSTICKING - The penalty for HIGHSTICKING (see IV above) will be
as follows for each individual period: (1) individual warning, (2) team warning, (3) minor penalty. Example: On the third and each subsequent high-sticking violation in a period, there will be a minor penalty. High-sticking which results in contact with another player’s head will be an immediate minor or major penalty and will add to the count in the period.

X. PLAYING DOWN - The penalty for SLIDING or PLAYING DOWN (see V 4 above) will be as follows for the entire game: (1) individual warning, (2) team warning, (3) minor penalty. Example: On the third and each subsequent Playing Down violation in the game, there will be a minor penalty.

XI. SLIDING/PLAYING DOWN RULE - Any player intentionally playing down or sliding who interferes with an opposing player’s clear opportunity to score a goal will draw a penalty resulting in a penalty shot. A player unintentionally down must make reasonable efforts to get up or may be considered intentionally down.


The clock will be stopped for minor and major penalties (and will not resume until the play resumes), scoring situations in the final minute of the first two periods and at the referees’ discretion for other lengthy stoppages (e.g. lost ball, injury, etc.) or scoring situations in the final minute of the first two periods. However, the intent is that the game be running time, and the clock will not normally stop for goals, possession fouls, etc. If the clock cannot be stopped, reasonable time may be added at the referees’ discretion.
In the case of an intentional delay of game a minor penalty may be awarded, and the referee may stop the clock (if possible), or alternatively, add overtime periods of 1 minute for each infraction. The referee may disregard this rule if he feels the rule is being manipulated (examples, team behind delays game, or players trying to add time to avoid a tie).


At least two players must always remain outside their defensive area (i.e. their feet must not touch the blue line, but they can play the ball with their stick inside). The first two infractions in each period will result in possession for the attacking team inside the zone. Each additional infraction in the period will be a minor penalty (and still, two players must remain outside the zone).


Teams will consist of 8 players on the ice----3 females and 5 males, including the goalie.
A male may not replace a female position.
A team must field at least 5 players.
Players must be at least 18 years old and a high school graduate.
A team roster must have a minimum of 12 players, with no maximum.
Team rosters will remain open throughout the season with the following exceptions:

A. Once a player plays for a team, he or she may not play for any other team following the 7th week of play. (Individuals may only be listed on one team’s roster and must play for that team.)
B. In order to be eligible for the play-offs a player must have played in a minimum of two regular season games.
NOTE: All participants must be listed on the roster prior to playing.


MINOR - TWO MINUTES OR MAJOR - FOUR MINUTES Minor and major penalties may be awarded for the following at the discretion of the referee. Any penalty inside the offensive half which denies an attacking player a clear goal scoring opportunity may be awarded a penalty shot.

CHECKING HOLDING (the stick or the player)
CROSS-CHECKING (with the stick) SLASHING (the stick or the body)


The referee will have the discretion to remove a player(s) from the ice for a time period for any infraction which they deem is enough to warrant a cooling off period. The affected team(s) will be allowed to substitute for that player during the time.





DELAYED PENALTIES – Any minor penalty will be called on a delayed basis in accordance with hockey convention. That is, on a defensive foul, play will continue as long as the attacking team controls the ball. Loss of control results in a whistle, assessment of the penalty and attacking team possession. A subsequent attacking team foul results in a whistle, assessment of penalties and a neutral zone face-off at the point nearest the second infraction. Delayed off sides will be called along soccer conventions. That is, the current attack will be allowed to continue to see if a goal-scoring opportunity develops within a few seconds. Loss of attacking momentum results in a whistle and attacking team possession inside the zone.

POSSESSION FOULS - Any foul in favor of a team 1) in the attacking end will be taken at the nearest face-off dot in the zone with the defending players outside the circle, 2) in the defensive end will be taken at the blue line, and 3) in neutral territory, at the spot of the foul. Other than in the attacking zone, the player will be given 10 feet. Following the restart whistle, the player has three seconds to play the ball, after which the defense may approach and play the ball.

HIGH STICK (no contact)
SLIDING/PLAYING DOWN (see sections X & XI)


Following referees’ discretionary stoppage (injury, errant whistle, etc.)

Referee Guide

On opposite sides of the ice, each referee should move between the goal line and the center line (Red Line) of their respective half of the ice, within about 10 feet of the boards. Many balls are played off of the boards, so standing directly against the boards increases the chances you’ll be hit with the ball and affect the play.
When the ball moves deep into the offensive zone, the leading ref should be at or near the goal line with a good view of the crease area, while the trailing ref should be at or near center ice with a view of the two “outside the zone” players and the action in the zone. The best view of the crease and the position least likely to affect play is directly behind the goal.


The most contentious calls involve the crease area, what constitutes a legitimate goal, and goalie safety. For these reasons, the leading ref in the zone needs to have a clear view of and focus his attention on the crease area and illegal passes in the offensive zone. When the ball moves away from the crease, the leading ref’s attention should be split between the play on the ball and possible crease violations and goalie interference.
The trailing ref has a better perspective on high lifts and high sticks (being able to see the height of the ball as compared to the board height) as well as off-the-ball fouls, especially fouls around the goal when the ball is elsewhere (holding, checking, etc.) and should focus his attention on those areas. The trailing ref should make the off sides call.
Either ref may have a good line of site on a foul, high stick, etc. and should not feel intimidated by calls of “How can you see that from there?” If you see it, call it.


This is supposed to be a running time game, but some stoppages may merit asking for the clock to be stopped. Rule consultations between refs and the booth, altercations that require sorting out, penalties, etc. The goal should be to keep the game moving without unfairly penalizing either team because of the delay. A stoppage caused by the team ahead will more likely merit a clock stop than one caused by the team behind. A stoppage is more reasonable in a close game than a 4-0 game. If stoppages begin to affect the start and end times of games, we will have to shorten the games, so keep it moving. The clock should not be stopped for possession fouls or goals.

The clock is usually run by someone (Mark) who knows the rules well and keeps track of high sticks, playing down calls and off sides. He should not be helping with judgment calls, but feel free to consult him on rules, interpretations, etc.

If no one is manning the clock and there is a stoppage resulting in a scoring situation in the last minute of any period, the referees should note the time on the clock out loud, return the clock to that time and resume play.


We have added a dissent minor, although we have always had discretion to invoke unsportsmanlike conduct. Understand that a certain amount of grousing at the ref is inevitable in all sports and try not to take it personally. When you have had enough, give a clear warning to the player and team involved. On the next occurrence, call a 2-minute minor to be served by the offending player. If the offending player cannot serve (injury?) or is the goalie, a player on the ice of the same gender as the offender may be chosen by the manager/captain.

For an abusive or profane rant, beyond normal grousing, 1) no team warning is necessary, 2) the goalie is not immune and 3) you have options of minor (releasable if a goal is scored), major (4 minutes, non-releasable), misconduct (8 minutes for the player, on top of minor or major for the team), and game misconduct (gone from the game, subject to further league action). The misconduct penalties are only applied to the player; his team does not play shorthanded after the initial minor or major is served.

Dangerous Play:

This is intended to address out of control or dangerous play. A player diving (leaving his feet but touching the ball before his body hits the ground) may be fine if the player is all alone in a corner. If it’s done near other players, it 1) puts those players at risk and/or 2) unfairly causes them to shy away from the play fearing someone will be hurt. A diving player whose stick hits somebody (even if they “got the ball first”) or slides into someone is not in control and should be penalized.

This same call also applies to a player who runs headlong through another player, usually hoping that the other player will back down, fearing a collision. Obviously, this can be a tough judgment call if two players reach a ball at the same time (especially on the boards), and neither backs down. Collisions happen, but there are a few players who invite more than their share of collisions.

Unintentional Penalties:

We have eliminated the possession change for unintentional trips, etc. The thought is that it is so hard to score in broomball, even with a man advantage, that there is no reason not to enforce the penalty with two minutes. The trick is consistency.

Goalie Saves:

The goalie is supposed to release the ball laterally, and if he does so, it is fine if he throws or kicks it right to his teammate. To advance the ball, he must use his stick. Of course, when the goalie is in the process of making a save, the ball may be deflected in any direction and the play continues. An issue arises when the “save” of a weak shot or a cross ends up being pushed well up ice by a goalie who clearly knew he could advance the ball. While giving the full benefit of the doubt to allow a goalie to make a save any way he sees fit, a ball deliberately propelled forward (a kick clear) or to a forward teammate by a goalie seeking advantage should be awarded to the attacking team at the circle.

Denying a Goal-Scoring Opportunity:

Generally, when the last defender commits a minor or major penalty in the offensive zone against a player heading to goal with the ball, the ref must decide whether the offensive player had control of the ball (but for the foul) and whether any other defender was in a position to “get back” and help before he got the shot off. If the player had control and no other defenders were available, a penalty shot should be awarded.
A player “playing down” to block a close shot from the front of the goal should clearly result in a penalty shot. A down defender who has fallen or was pushed into the crease, but not making enough of an effort to get up and out should draw a penalty shot. A down player blocking a weak shot, a shot from a poor angle or a shot from distance (maybe with other defenders behind him) may also be a penalty shot, but is not as clear cut. The penalty shot is taken by any player on the ice at the time of the foul.


The restart in the offensive zone is intended to improve scoring opportunities by moving the ball in front of the goal. The team taking the restart should drive the timing of the whistle: when they appear ready give them a whistle if it appears to be to their advantage. If they ask for 10 feet, they should wait for your whistle, which you only blow after the defense has backed away. (This is analogous to a soccer restart; hockey restarts are all face-offs.)
In soccer, defensive players often start way too close to the ball until the referee pushes them back. Refusing to back away or kicking a ball away that has been properly set can result in a yellow card in soccer. For broomball, a referee should expect a slow back-away (but not a ridiculous starting point, like right on the ball), and can warn players before issuing an Unsportsmanlike minor.
For reference, the radius of the face-off circle is 15 ft and the distance between the Blue lines and the Red line should be about 25 ft.

Ball Deflected Off a Defender for a Goal:

This rule tries to square the High Lift rule and the fact that a legal shot on goal can rise up to a foot over the crossbar as it travels toward the goal, (though it must come down to the level of the crossbar by the time it makes it to the goal). If a defender is hit in the head or the chest (i.e. high) by a legal shot on goal, there is no high lift called, and a deflection off such a defender that goes in should be a goal. However, if the shot is not on goal, either because it is too high or is not initially on line for the goal (or is actually a cross, not a shot), it is a high lift when it strikes the player and is a dead ball (no goal) thereafter.
Any ball striking an offensive player high will be considered a high lift and a dead ball.

Watch the Free Hand:

The trailing ref in the offensive zone (or either in neutral ice) should be conscious of players removing one hand from their stick when close to an opposing player. While most of the time this is totally legitimate (a player wants a longer reach, or to cushion collision, e.g.), sometimes it's to grab a stick, impede an opposing player or shove a player. Grabbing a stick or player should be a Holding call, impeding a player is Interference, and shoving can be Interference, Boarding or Roughing depending on the circumstances.


Lifting or popping the stick from below is legal and is usually not a slash. While it is legal to press down on an opponent's stick while they play or are about to play the ball, it becomes a slash when the player chops down hard on the opponent's stick, whether they drop the stick or not. The easiest slash to call is when the ball is away from both players and the offending player is using the slash to interfere with his opponent who is trying to get to the ball.