TOMAKOMAI, Japan – Sailors assigned to USS Patriot (MCM 7) participated in an exhibition of Broomball, a recreational ice game, at the Tokiwa Arena, Feb. 11.
Patriot Sailors played in a round robin tournament and an international friendly game against the Tomakomai Swans, the local Broomball club.
For their participation, the Sailors were awarded certificates of accomplishment and were named honorary members of the Tomakomai Swans.
“I would like to thank the USS Patriot for their energy and enthusiasm today while playing a sport many of them had never played before,” said Mr. Robert Heringer, Broomball coach and arena attendant. “We greatly appreciated the international exchange that took place here between the people of Tomakomai and USS Patriot. If Patriot ever visits Tomakomai in the future, we hope they do not hesitate to stop by.”
Broomball is a recreational ice game with striking similarities to ice hockey. The game consists of two teams consisting of a goaltender and others. Players use a broom, a wooden or aluminum stick with a rubber-molded head, to move the bright orange game ball on the ice. Instead of using ice skates, players wear rubber-soled shoes, protective body padding, gloves and a facemask. The objective of the game is to score the most goals in the opponent’s net.
Broomball, originated in Canada, has a large international following, especially in Japan. In 2014, Tomakomai will be the host city for the Broomball World Championships tournament.
For Sailors in attendance for the event, they said they were glad they had the opportunity to play the game.
“It was pretty awesome,” said Mineman Seaman Daniel Bentley. “I have never been on an ice rink before, I probably would have fallen a lot more had we used ice skates, but Broomball was right up my alley. It was great playing with the local team today, sports to me is a good way to break down language barriers and have a good time.”
“I didn’t really know what to expect when we arrived today, but the arena staff and the local team were happy to have us here today and the guys really loved it,” said Lt. j.g. James Watters. “There were smiles all around and nobody got too beat up today so that is a plus.”
Port visits offer a wide range of goodwill possibilities to engagement with the local community. Sailors are afforded the chance to experience moments that may come around only once in a lifetime.
“Today was a lot of fun,” said Mineman Seaman James Kincaid. “To think only a few years ago I was at home and now I am half way around the world, playing Broomball in Japan and visiting the Sapporo Ice Festival; only in the Navy.”
Patriot is currently on a Mine Countermeasure Partnership Patrol in the 7th
Fleet area of operations and is one of four mine countermeasure ships forward deployed from Sasebo Japan.