Family builds bonds playing broomball

Mary Musilek

Undefeated and ready for next year’s season, senior Johanna Knaeble and her family continue their long lasting tradition of playing broomball in a local park and rec league. Fifteen of Knaeble’s relatives, many of whom have been playing broomball for 25 years, make up the family team called Park Tavern Black.

Knaeble, now in her third season of broomball, first got into the sport because her mom owns a sporting goods store called Instant Replay Sports, which sells all of the equipment necessary for the game. Since her family had been playing for a while and the tools needed to play were readily available, it was easy for Knaeble to join in.

“I’m the youngest, and it’s all my older family members like aunts and uncles,” said Knaeble about the team makeup. Not only is the Park Tavern Black team made up of locals, but each team in the park and rec league comes from around the area as well. Each game is set up in advance, complete with referees and played at Nielson Rink off Highway 7 in St. Louis Park.

A game of broomball consists of two teams attempting to get a mini soccer ball into a hockey net using special broomball brooms, said Knaeble. Two 30-minute halves are action-packed, and the players have to take certain precautions because of the conditions of the game. “We wear shin pads, elbow pads, and a helmet, along with special grip shoes that grip on the ice,” said Knaeble.

The game is fast paced, much like soccer, and players substitute in and out often. “We play for five minutes and the sit out for two minutes, so the game moves really quickly,” said Knaeble.

In the organization, there are two different brackets, an upper and a lower bracket. Knaeble’s team went undefeated in the lower bracket, but the team felt that they would have rather won half and lost half in the upper bracket. “Our team shouldn’t be in the lower bracket, but next year we should move up,” said Knaeble.
Unfortunately, as the ice starts to melt, the season begins to come to an end. “It’s over now, but we are number one in our league,” said Knaeble.