Are you a hockey fan but not a good skater? If so, there will be something you can do about it. Prince George will be bringing the sport of broomball to town as BC Broomball prepares to host the 2005 Senior Canadian National Broomball Championships.
Steven Fraser vice-president of B.C. Broomball is hoping by hosting the event in Prince George the sport will grow in the north. At the moment B.C.’s hotbeds for broomball are Victoria and Castlegar.
Fraser said the sport is similar to hockey.
“There are two periods. The red line would be your off side not the blue line and the nets are bigger. And there are pretty much the same rules,” said Fraser who will be heading up the PG teams.
“I’ll be setting things up and coaching the men’s and women’s teams. I am certified to coach at level three. We’re hoping that having that exposure will raise the profile of broomball in Prince George. Having practices every Tuesday night and by having that will give people the chance to prepare for that. We have some good players from the north and we’re looking at recruiting them.”
The national will have two divisions, one for men and one for women which will bring in roughly 450 competitors and 200 officials. Organizers expect between $500,000 and $750,000 coming into the economy from April 5 to 9 when the event is held.
The committee is viewing local facilities at the moment and though plans haven’t been finalized the Prince George Multiplex and the Coliseum are being looked at as the main venues.
Canadian Broomball Federation president Rick Przybysz said hosting the event in a smaller market is good for the sport.
“With the sport of broomball coming here we’re hoping it’s going to open up the sport of broomball in the north not only in Prince George.
“You lose people in bigger areas. You can’t contain them. The hospitality isn’t there. Although there is more to see they don’t have all that time to see it. When you have an event like this in a smaller area I find the community rallies better around the event and it’s been shown in Cornerbrook Newfoundland. Attendance figures were great. And those people didn’t know anything about the sport of broomball. I think it will be a test case here. We’ll probably have about 3,000 people viewing the games over the week,” he said.
The 2004 nationals will be held in Montreal.
Fraser said the sport is growing and being recognized on an international level. At the moment there are 24 counties who compete in the World Broomball championships and he is hoping broomball will find its way to the 2010 winter Olympics.
This bid was the first bid which was put together under Events PG which is part of Initiatives Prince George.
“We out-bid another province. We were up against Alberta and Toronto. One of the reasons why is we wanted to get the exposure up in BC. It used to be big in the 60s and it’s died off,” said Fraser.