Winterfest broomball tournament raises more than $225,000 for charity

by Nolan Sargent February 21, 2024

University of Michigan students attend annual Winterfest to watch qualifying fraternities and sororities compete in a hockey tournament. Bela Fischer/Daily.

Spectators crowded around a temporary wooden rink at the Sigma Nu fraternity house on Saturday for the annual Winterfest broomball tournament. The event, organized by the Sigma Nu Fraternity in cooperation with the U-M Interfraternity Council and the U-M chapter of the Panhellenic Association, has raised more than $225,000 so far for Autism Alliance of MichiganFisher House Foundation and the Women’s Center of Southeastern Michigan. Donations for this year will be accepted until Sunday, Feb. 25. 

Broomball is a game similar to hockey, but without ice, in which players attempt to score goals with a rubber ball and a broom-shaped stick. At Winterfest, teams of six players competed in a single-elimination tournament. The players on each team were from a single fraternity or sorority on campus. Like hockey, broomball is a highly physical game, with players occasionally engaging in fights. Referees and security were on-site at the event to ensure participant safety. 

LSA sophomore Lee Fingar-Myers, philanthropy chairman at Sigma Nu and lead organizer for Winterfest, said planning and implementing the event was complicated.  

“A lot of people don’t realize how much goes into Winterfest, between contracting private security, as well as police, as well as photographers, as well as just the little things like reaching out to sponsors, getting port-a-potties there, getting hay there, as well as building the entire rink,” Fingar-Myers said.

According to Fingar-Myers, safety was a priority for Sigma Nu in planning Winterfest. Police, security and sober monitors — fraternity members required to remain sober — were all present.