Get swept up with broomball at the Skyline Park ice rink

Bust out the helmets and elbow pads: It's time to throw down. Broomball is coming to the Southwest Ice Rink at Skyline Park this month. Whether you want to ice out the competition or just get swept away by Canadian culture, this could be the game for you.

Broomball is similar to ice hockey, although there are generally fewer fistfights and more intact teeth. Players trade skates for tennis shoes (or, if you're a big spender, special broomball shoes made in Canada), and the ball, which is about the size of a cantaloupe, gets smacked around by broomball sticks that have six-inch-wide, semi-triangular ends instead of blades.

For the Denver version, which debuts on January 10, companies and groups are encouraged to come up with their own teams...and clever names. Each team must have six to twelve adults (eighteen and up), with six players -- at least two of them women -- on the ice at a time.

Games will be held Tuesdays and Thursdays from January 10 through February 9 at 7:30, 8:30 and 9:30 p.m.; time slots are being given out on a first-come, first-served basis. You can come up with your own rival, or ask the organizers at Downtown Denver to find you a match.

To register (the cost is $200 per team, but proceeds benefit Volunteers of America), go to www.southwestrink.com and click on the "Broomball Challenge" link, fill out your broomball application, then send it by e-mail to the Broomball Commissioner, jcravens@downtowndenver.com or fax it to 303- 534-2803.

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