Thursday, February 10, 2011

9.2.10 In the event that there is a disagreement regarding a referee’s call or scoring, only the Captains or their Designated Alternates may discuss the ruling with the referees. Skaters, coaches or managers may act as Designated Alternates.

A lot of skaters, and referees, don’t actually know this rule exists, but it does for a very specific reason: if every skater were given the ability to talk to the referees about their calls, then practically every skater would question every referee about their calls. It is a natural inclination for people to argue with something they disagree with, and players of a game tend to often disagree with the game’s officials. If every skater were allowed to talk to the referees, then the refs would always be distracted by skaters asking then questions, or questioning calls, etc. By channeling skater/referee communication through the captains and head referee the communication becomes more efficient and the refs can keep their focus on the game and prepare for the next jam between jams. This also keeps the head referee in the loop of all communications from the benches. Since the head referee is the ultimate authority in each game, it is important that the head referee know what is being said from their ref crew to the skaters. If they control all communication from refs to skater, then the head referee maintains control and authority of the game. Similarly, the captains are the authority of their teams, and by allowing only them to talk to the refs the captains maintain that authority and don’t have to worry about unnecessary timeouts or Official Reviews being called, or not being told about certain penalties, etc.

In normal discourse it is not the worst thing for a captain to address a referee that is not the head referee, but for anything more substantive than “how many points did my jammer just get?” or “what was the penalty you just called?” they should refer to the head referee to maintain the communication efficiency. Referees that are being spoken to by captains should keep that in mind and politely refer them to the head referee. The head referee ought to be the one to decide if what is being mentioned by the captains requires an Official Timeout to take care of, or take any other sort of decisive action. However, if a team calls a timeout, any ref may grant the timeout (so long as they are sure that team has any timeouts left) so the captain(s) may request an Official Review from the head referee.