Wednesday, January 26, 2011

‎5.1.2 The skater who makes contact with a target zone of an opponent is considered the initiator of the block. The initiator of the block is always responsible for the legality of their contact.

The phrase “The initiator of the block is always responsible for the legality of their contact” is repeated in the rules more than a couple times. This is an important phrase, as this is the rule referees are referencing when making penalty calls that are sometimes argued as, “but it wasn’t my fault.”

A common derby strategy is the “sacrifice penalty,” where a skater, usually the jammer, will physically move a teammate into an opponent, usually resulting in an illegal action penalty by the teammate on the opponent. Sometimes this is a no impact elbow or forearms/hands from being caught off guard and flailing, or possibly a block to the back. On many occasions this sacrifice penalty will be a low block major, as the unsuspecting teammate gets knocked down by their speeding jammer and falls in front of their opponent, tripping them. On more than a few occasions I have heard the penalized skater shout “but it wasn’t my fault” as they were leaving the track. Sadly, it was. Since the contact to the opponent was made by the penalized teammate, not by the jammer that pushed them, 5.1.2 kicks into effect, and that skater gets the penalty. Hence, why it is called a “sacrifice penalty,” if used to help a jammer get through the pack.

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