Thursday, February 2, 2012

6.3.9 A skater who habitually, three or more times during the course of a bout, falls in front of opponents, causing them to lose relative position, even if she “falls small.” The intent is to penalize a skater who repeatedly falls because she is a danger to her opponents. A single skater who repeatedly trips other skaters, even when “falling small” is adversely affecting game play and safety.

Like yesterday’s rule, today’s rule penalizes an action that is otherwise legal. A skater who has fallen small is not to be penalized if she trips an opponent. However, if a skater habitually falls small in front of opponents then the rules considers that skater to be a safety risk to her opponents. It is because of this rule that it appears sometimes that a referee has penalized a skater for a Low Block even though she has fallen small.

Much like I mentioned yesterday, because this rule penalizes an action that is otherwise legal, as a head ref if a skater were to be penalized by this rule I would most likely mention to their captain what happened. I say this because if a skater is enough of a risk to safety that they receive a penalty even though they seem to have not committed an illegal action, their captain can speak to the skater and they may skate safer for the duration of the bout. This is certainly not a rules based suggestion, nor is it from any published set of standard practices. It is just what I would most likely do as a head referee.