Friday, January 27, 2012

6.2.5 Intentional, negligent, or reckless contact above the shoulders.

Today’s rule is from the High Block or Blocking to the Head expulsion section. This is one of those rules that is easily explained as “you’ll know it when you see it” but there’s certainly some factors that would make it easy to identify an expulsion under this rule. If a skater is upright and another skater’s arm swings up and makes contact with her head, knocking the receiving skater down, or into the path of another skater, that would most likely be intentional. This is because skaters tend to skate with their arms down to avoid forearms penalties. Contact to the head in this type of case would likely require a skater to swing her arm up out of its normal position, which would likely signify intent. An example of reckless may include a skater trying a dangerous maneuver around a downed skater and kicking her in the head. In fact, that could possibly negligent as well. The point is that contact above the shoulders is illegal, but there is a difference between a High Block major, and a High Block expulsion.

You may notice that I have used some noncommittal words in this explanation, such as “likely” and “possibly”. This is because when it comes to expulsion a referee needs to be sure in the situation, and it becomes difficult to discuss absolutes without being there in the moment. Of course, this applies to any rule, however expulsion have a much greater effect on a game than a minor or a major, and so it is irresponsible to apply an absolute in situations where it may not be warranted, such as with this rule.