Sunday, July 31, 2011

2.1.4 The track area will include chairs or benches in designated team areas, either in the infield or on the sidelines. Only those skaters who are on the roster for that game may sit or stand in the designated team area. Up to two support staff (team managers, coaches, or other non-skating players) per team are allowed in this area during a bout.

Today's rule is not a surprise to most, but one part may be often overlooked. This rule references "designated bench areas". That means that in a bout the team benches ought to be clearly defined, by rope, tape, or other form or marking. The reason for this is to know where exactly the bench is to enforce the limit of only rostered skaters and two support staff being allowed in the bench area. It is important to be able to determine if a team has too many support staff or skaters in their bench area as it is a penalty per 6.13.26. Without a designated bench area someone may make the argument that they are just near the bench area not in it. That being said, depending on the venue, if spectators are able to stand near the benches, and a clear designation for the bench areas exists, if a spectator is standing near the bench area they are not in it, and they are allowed to communicate with the skaters and staff in the bench area.