Thursday, March 17, 2011

10.3.3 If a skater leaves the jam during play for equipment issues, the skater may re-enter the jam once the issue has been resolved. If the skater leaves the jam for any other reason, the skater may not re-enter the jam.

If a skater leaves the track and is on the floor out of bounds, but is not injured to the point of having the jam called off, and is out of the way and not a safety hazard, it will be determined at some point that that skater has removed their self from the jam, unless the skater is correcting an equipment malfunction. Unfortunately, there is no exact guideline as to how long a skater may be of the track before the skater is considered removed from the jam. In this case, it is up to the referees to judge the situation. For example, if a skater gets knocked out of bounds and goes down hard, the skater may crawl to the side, out of the way of the refs and other skaters, so as to prevent getting the jam called off, and lie on their side for a few seconds visibly winded. It is safe to say that once the skater has made the effort to move out of the way of the other skaters and spends a few seconds lying down, without any signs of attempting to return to the jam, that the skater has removed their self from the jam, and may not return. A skater who gets knocked down and takes a few second to get up is another story, so long as they are making the effort to stand up and return to the track. Once again, equipment malfunctions are excepted from this rule, so a skater that leaves the track, either on their own or by another skater, who is visibly correcting a piece of equipment (e.g., tightening or refastening a safety pad strap, tightening or replacing a toe stop, etc.) may return to the track and the jam.

Skaters who remove themselves from the jam and then attempt to return to the jam must be sent to their bench using the Official hand signal and verbal cue. Since there is no specific penalty for a skater returning to the track after having removed themselves from play, the rules must be used as a guide to determine the appropriate action. The way that I interpret the rules, a skater who is returning to the track after having removed themselves from play is just like a skater entering the track after the jam has started:

2.4.4.2.1 If a Pivot or Blocker is not on the track when the jam starting whistle blows, that skater will not be permitted to join the jam in progress. No penalty will be issued.

They aren't committing a penalty, per se, so they don’t get a penalty for it, but they are not allowed to be on the track and must be sent back to their bench. Now something the rules don’t specify is what to do if a skater ignores the instruction to return to their bench (except in cases of too many skaters on the track, but that is more a major penalty for causing the jam to be called off when the extra skater doesn’t leave the track). So the closest part of the rules to use as a guide is:

6.14 INSUBORDINATION
Insubordination is willfully failing to comply with a referee’s orders. Examples of insubordination include but are not limited to failure to leave the track for a penalty or failure to leave the floor after fouling out.

The key part here is “include but are not limited to” which means the penalties in Section 6.14 are not the end all be all for Insubordination. Therefore I believe it is appropriate to penalize a skater willfully failing to return to their bench after being instructed to do so as the same penalty as:

6.14.3 Willfully failing to leave the track for a penalty.

This is a major Insubordination penalty.

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