Tuesday, March 22, 2011

‎ Counter-blocking is any motion/movement towards an oncoming block by the receiving skater that is designed to counteract an opponent's block. Counter-blocking is treated as blocking and held to the same standards and rules.

“Counter-blocking is treated as blocking” is a good line to remember. There are many times when a skater may think they are doing something legal and are in fact going to be penalized for it.

The most common type of illegal counter-blocking I see results in a Blocking Out Of Bounds penalty. This happens when a skater gets blocked out of bounds, is usually straddling, and is actively counter-blocking with one or both skates touching outside the track boundary. A skater who is considered out of bounds, which straddling is, may not engage, which includes counter-blocking, as it is a form of engagement, while not initiating.

Another type of illegal counter-blocking that may happen with the widespread use of the slow pack strategy is clockwise counter-blocks. If a skater, most likely a blocker in a stopped or slow pack, has stopped skating and another skater legally blocks them from behind, if the stopped skater counter-blocks while remaining stationary (difficult but possible) the skater will receive a Direction of Gameplay penalty.

Of course, most rules have exceptions, and while counter-blocking at times when blocking is illegal is normally also illegal, one situation that is different is when being engaged out of play. 6.10.4 and 6.10.5 both allow for illegally engaged out of play skaters to counter-block and go unpenalized.