Broomball madness: Students, alumni combine for fun tournament at Michigan Tech

Daily Mining Gazette/Jon Jaehnig Top: The ball drop kicking off the tenth annual Alumni-Student Broomball Invitational, one of the final events of Michigan Technological University's Winter Carnival, took place on Saturday, Feb 9.

The 10th annual Alumni-Student Broomball Invitational took place last weekend as part of Michigan Technological University’s (MTU) Winter Carnival. The tournament consisted of two main brackets, one of twelve alumni teams and one of six student teams. Games started at 8:30 a.m. with the final game between the top-ranking alumni team and the top-ranking student team beginning at 3:30 p.m. Invitations to alumni went out in October.

“This year, we had twelve alumni teams coming back, so we had over 110 alumni and friends of the university playing so it’s a really great turnout this year,” said Erin Thompson, associate director of alumni engagement at MTU. “The winner of the tournament gets their name engraved on the Alumni Cup and for the last three years it’s been an alumni team winning… It’s a fun engagement piece to bring alumni back to the campus and a fun addition to Winter Carnival.”

“We have six people on the ice including one goalie. It’s about fifteen-minute halves and, if there’s a tie, there’s five-minute overtime,” said Nick Oslap, one of the goalies. “We’re probably a little more lenient [than during regular season games].”

In addition to almost 150 players, there are also around forty trained broomball referees. With three games happening at one time for most of the tournament. That makes for almost forty people on the ice at once. “We try to keep three games going on for as long as possible if it gets later in the day it’ll probably condense all to one rink,” said Chris Blatt, special task manager of the broomball committee, part of the Inter Residence Hall Committee.

“If you want to put a team together, you put a team together. Get some of your friends, get some of your alumni buddies who you haven’t seen in a while, and try to practice. Try to do some warmups in the off-season, and come out here and try not to get hurt,” said John Kenzinger.

Kenzinger is a 2011 and 2013 graduate of MTU who is currently living in Detroit and working for Ford. He played on the CNI Munk-ease who played in three games.

“There are no broomball rinks in Detroit, so you just run out in the cold before work,” he said.

Of course, not everyone involved was on the ice. A number of spectators came and went throughout the day as well.

“My son is an alumni and he works for the school now,” said Laron Morgen, a spectator from Grand Rapids. “We’ve been up [for Winter Carnival] many times.”

At the end of the day, alumni team Pirate Sheep played off against student team Arctic Agus. The Pirate Sheep won the game to have their names engraved on the Alumni Cup for the third year in a row.

“It feels good to add to the Pirate Sheep broomball legacy, which spans all the way back to 2006, and hopefully we can keep it going next year,” said Colton Wesoloski of the Pirate Sheep, a team of 2015 and 2016 graduates who played together in college but are now scattered throughout the Midwest. “Erin Thompson, the Michigan Tech Alumni Association, and IRHC broomball do an amazing job hosting this event every year and I can’t thank them enough for the opportunity.”