The sport of Broomball is not new to the St.Claude Haywood Arena. In the early 60’s, the community enjoyed the sport with Men’s teams south of the #2 Highway challenging opponents from the north
Then, in the late 70’s, 80’s and 90’s Broomball peeked in its popularity at the Men’s level. St.Claude had a team while Haywood Concrete and the Haywood Canadians were the other local teams. For the next 20 years, Haywood joined forces as the Nomads and the St.Claude squad were known as the Raiders. The teams challenged opponents from Rathwell, Holland, Treherne, Cypress River, Somerset, Bruxelles, Mariapolis, Swan Lake and Baldur.
The new millennium brought forth many challenges for Broomball at the arena. Men’s teams were always on the decline with only St.Claude and Haywood active in 2001. Our athletes participated at their 1st Provincials in 2001 in Brandon. Playing in a full contact league, the teams formed the St.Claude Stallions. Since then, the Stallions have captured “Gold” at the Provincials in 2003 and went on to host The Canadians Westerns in the fall. Today, our Men’s teams still enjoy weekly scrimmages.
Having watched surrounding communities lose their broomball teams, it was time to rejuvenate interest at the grassroots levels. In 1999, athletes from the St.Claude School Complex competed in their 1st High School Provincials capturing Bronze and Gold in 2000. The Nomads also competed in their first Juvenile Mixed Provincials at Treherne in 1999. In 2001, St.Claude hosted its first Juvenile Provincials and would do so for the next four years. Since then, two local teams known as the Raiders and Nomads compete at the championships, picking up numerous medallions.
In 2004, our local female athletes decided that the time was right to enter a team at the Provincials. The dream team captured Gold at their first championships and went on to compete at the Canadian Westerns in Lethbridge, Alberta. This dream team, now known as the Gold Diggers continue to compete every year at Provincials, Westerns and in 2006 at the Nationals in Selkirk, Manitoba.
The most promising and exciting development for Broomball is surely the participation at the youth level. Every Monday night, the grades 7-12 Co-ed enjoy scrimmage games. On Wednesday evenings the Men’s & Ladies with the Grades 10-12 Co-ed also compete in scrimmages. In 2006, Broomball scrimmages were introduced for all age groups prior to Public Skating at the Arena.
Competing senior teams need a strong foundation to survive. St.Claude is currently the only location in Manitoba offering broomball at all levels. Past president of the Manitoba Amateur Broomball Association, John Hogg, acknowledged that St.Claude is the “Hot Bed” for Broomball in Manitoba.