Monday, May 7, 2012

4.3.3 Blockers who are out of play must slow or speed up to re-enter the Engagement Zone.

Blockers who are out of the Engagement Zone are, by definition, out of play. Being outside the engagement zone means being on the track, more than 20 feet from the nearest pack skater. There’s been plenty rules covering what the pack is, which can be found on the Rule of the Day archive, so I won’t cover that here. If a skater is out of play outside the engagement zone, she must return to play immediately, either by speeding up if they are behind the pack, or slowing down if they are in front of it. If they do not do so, they may be given a penalty by the referees, which may or may not be preceded by a verbal “out of play” warning accompanied by a hand signal. The penalty a skater would be given is an Out Of Play penalty, but the referee would use the appropriate verbal cue of “failure to re-enter” which explains that the penalty is for the skater failing to immediately attempt to re-enter the engagement zone. Warnings are optional, and may not necessarily be relied upon. Skaters need to know what 20 feet from the pack looks like just as much as referees, and be responsible for their own position in and out of the engagement zone. Of course, Out Of Play penalties being issued before warnings tend to happen mostly when an out of play block is made. Penalties for failure to re-enter will likely come after a warning.