Due to the athletics department’s ban on intramural broomball from the Lansing Chapman Ice Hockey Rink, broomball is now played in socks in Lasell gymnasium instead of on ice, but all the other rules have remained the same.
The athletics department claims that playing broomball on the hockey rink with street shoes covered in debris from outside caused damage to the ice surface, creating dangerous conditions for hockey players. Bud Fisher, interim director of athletics and physical education, objected.
“Moving the activity to Lasell mitigates some of the safety issues and gives the Junior Advisors (JAs) the opportunity to see if they can run the activity in a healthy and safe way that respects the facility they are using,” Fisher said. “[The Office of] Student Life has made it clear to the JAs that the issues of health and safety of the players and respect for the facility are the key ingredients for continued use of the Lasell facility, and the student broomball leaders indicate that they are up for the challenge of showing that they can run these activities with these issues in mind. In particular we have a no-alcohol policy in our buildings, so policing this with both spectators and players will be an important indicator of student respect for the Lasell Gym facility.”
Fisher referenced beer cans that were reportedly left in the hockey rink at the tournament in previous years as a violation of the no-alcohol policy.
Rather than cancel the tournament altogether, the administration recognized the importance of broomball to the student body and allowed it to continue in Lasell. Ben Lamb, associate director for student involvement at the Office of Student Life, acknowledged how much students care about broomball and would hate to see it disappear.
“The decision to move was based on the fact that broomball is such a huge part of first-year students’ Winter Study experience,” Lamb said. “As a team builder and fun activity during a traditionally quiet period in the year, we wanted to do whatever we could to make it happen in at least some form.”
Following the announcement of taking broomball off the hockey rink, administration explored alternative solutions, including moving the tournament to an outdoor rink, Towne Field House and Lasell Gym.
“Lasell was where we landed due to a variety of reasons including availability and access during Winter Study, the fact that an outdoor rink would be nearly impossible to maintain and the fact that the field house’s rubberized floor wouldn’t provide the same experience as a smoother surface does,” Lamb said.
Joseph Bianco, the JA of Sage E, believes that by notifying the JAs of the ban in December, the athletics department did not provide enough time to find an alternative venue.
“The system that we used to have was that people would bring clean shoes to the ice and now we know that that doesn’t work, because the ice got dirty even though last year’s JAs were pretty close to perfect on getting people to wear separate shoes,” Bianco said. “So basically, the system that Facilities recommended didn’t work and when it didn’t work they took away the ice.”
Bianco also believes that beer cans found at the rink were left by non-entry teams.
“These are all complaints that didn’t really have time to be fleshed out because the administration let this decision just chill for months until it was too late for anyone to do anything to get broomball going,” Bianco said. “In terms of alternatives, we looked into an outdoor rink, which was feasible but was too much of a danger from an insurance/liability standpoint, and it would’ve been hard to maintain.”