Canada's Sports Hall of Fame Canadian History and Society: Through the Lens of Sport Virtual Museum of Canada


The game of broom-i-loo is nearly as old as the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) itself, and remains vitally important to regimental tradition, camaraderie, and esprit-de-corps. The first annual broom-i-loo game was played on March 17th, 1924 as part of the commemoration of the birthday of Lady Patricia Ramsey, formerly Princess Patricia, and has been played annually ever since both in Canada and overseas. Broom-i-loo continues to be played enthusiastically each March 17th by soldiers of PPCLI.

The game is a cross between rugby and broomball, but how and why it came to exist are questions lost to history. One thing for certain is that it is unique in the Canadian Armed Forces. While the aim of the game is to put the ball in the net using a broom, the underlying purpose is to develop cohesion and regimental pride among the soldiers.

Historically each Rifle Company formed a team and competed, though nowadays each of the three PPCLI battalions holds its own tournament with teams based on rank. Privates and Corporals challenge the Master Corporals, and the Senior Non-Commissioned Officers face the Officers in a physically gruelling and demanding contest in which both the men and women of the units participate. Teams consist of four forwards, three defencemen, and a goalkeeper. Assaults on opponents with brooms and fists are prohibited, but body checking and tackling are fair game, beyond which the rules are limited. Modern broomball sticks and ball have replaced the traditional brooms and the football that were originally used. Each game lasts 15 minutes, split into two halves.

The spectators play an active role as well, and interference rarely goes noticed by the referee. With bragging rights at stake the action can be fierce, but once the tournament is complete energies turn to commemorating the proud history of PPCLI with comrades. Broom-i-loo remains a strong tradition of a proud infantry regiment.

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