‘We do it for the glory’

Carolyn Drummond

Kent State students compete for broomball championships at the Ice Arena

A member of the Triple D’s team tries to regain control of the ball against Nortons during a broomball game in the Ice Arena. Students can join different Broomball leagues and compete Wednesday nights against other teams. Katie Roupe | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

Carolyn Drummond

Daily Kent Stater

If Kent State is searching for a new way to retain students, the answer can be found in the Ice Arena on broomball nights.

Jared Kleinhenz, a graduate student studying math education, said he has continued his education here partly because of his pursuit of a broomball championship.

“If I don’t win the championship this year, I’m coming back for my doctorate,” Kleinhenz said.

Broomball is a variation of hockey that has a loyal following of students at Kent State.

Kleinhenz, a goalie for the Killa Penguins, has been playing for seven semesters. The Killa Penguins play in the Blue League, designated for advanced teams who have been involved in the sport for several years.

“I started when I was an RA because I wanted to get my residents together, and I still have four of them with me,” Kleinhenz said.

In broomball, players carry a “broom,” which is actually a stick with a plastic, triangular head, to shoot the ball across the ice. The object of the game is to score goals by shooting a small ball past a goalie and into a net.

Six players, including a goalie from each team are on the ice each shift, unless a penalty is called.

“It’s basically hockey on the ice without skates,” Ice Arena general manager Bill Switaj said. “They just have a ball and less rules.”

Broomball rules require players to wear shoes and helmets with face masks, and many teams make their own T-shirt jerseys.

The Triple D’s (Dynamic Divas and Dudes) wear lime green shirts with nicknames and numbers on the back.

“They’re bright and intimidating,” said Molly Shriver, team captain and senior accounting major.

Black, blue and gold

This semester, 22 teams are signed up to play broomball. Six compete in the Blue League, while 16 teams are in the Gold League, designated for beginners. Teams are coed, and two females from each team must be on the ice at all times.

While fighting is not allowed, running into people and sliding all over the ice keeps students engaged.

Shriver said her favorite part is “getting to be aggressive.”

Ross Clites, an architecture graduate student and member of the team simply known as Norton’s, enjoys the offensive side of the game, but said that’s not the only highlight of broomball.

“It’s a chance to watch people fall on their face,” Clites said.

In fact, most players ranked that high on their lists of broomball’s finer aspects.

All that falling leaves some players black and blue during the broomball season.

Sophomore nursing major Kaitlin Pinkerton, also a member of the Killa Penguins, said she gets bruises after all of the games, but she said it’s worth it.

“I love the competitiveness, and it’s a lot of fun,” Pinkerton said. “It’s a different experience, and you get to meet new people.”

Looking toward the future

Last year’s Blue League champions, the Motorboaters, plan to continue their reign this year.

“We do it for the glory,” junior goalie Jason Lukwinski said. “And I guarantee a repeat championship this year.”

However, the Motorboaters are not the only team predicting themselves winners already. Several other teams have entered that race.

Junior finance major Thomas Gianneschi, team captain for On the Rocks, said he plans on having a breakout year.

“When we play the Motorboaters, it will be the biggest game of the season,” Gianneschi said.

Although the playoffs aren’t until the end of March, students can watch games three times a week until they begin. The Gold League plays four games every Thursday starting at 10 p.m. and beginning at 8 p.m. every Sunday. Blue League teams face off in three games starting at 9:30 p.m. every Wednesday.

The Ice Arena also offers late-night skates on Wednesdays from 10:30 p.m. until midnight. Students can skate for $3, and skate rental is free.

“It’s a fun, enjoyable event,” Switaj said. “You can skate and watch broomball. There’s a lot of action going on.”

Tyler Yost, senior construction management major and captain of the Motorboaters, encourages students to come watch the games.

“It’s fun to come and be obnoxious and bang on the glass,” Yost said.

Contact club sports reporter Carolyn Drummond at [email protected].