Tuesday, May 29, 2012 A team has five or fewer un-injured rostered skaters remaining due to expulsions.

Today’s rule is the first subrule of, which explains when the head referee may call a forfeit. In the situation presented in this rule, the assumption is that a team has started a game with at least six skaters, and have had their team whittled down to five or less due to skaters being expelled. Contrary to how some first look at this rule, it does not apply to team who have lost skaters due to injury. It deals specifically with loss of skaters from a team due to expulsion. While I can only conjecture, I believe that this rule was created as a safety measure. If a team has lost enough skaters to have five or fewer left on their bench due to expulsion, that generally means that team is skating unsafe enough to receive that many expulsions. Certainly, this conjecture relies on the assumption that a team has started with 14 skaters and that the expelled skaters were penalized for major safety violations rather than other violations, such as Insubordination or Gross Misconduct for inappropriate language directed at the wrong place. Certainly, a team may begin with seven skaters, and two may be expelled for excessively cursing at officials or fans, but my assumption is a safe starting point. If a team is losing many skaters due to safety concerns, it makes sense that the rules would include a threshold at which the head referee is given the authority to call a forfeit to prevent further expulsion-worthy safety violations. Now, since there is the possibility for scenarios other than my assumed “typical” scenario, it seems that is why this rule is included in the “may call a forfeit” section and not the “must call a forfeit” section. The decision to call a forfeit would rest with the head referee. If the head ref feels that the team with five or fewer skaters left due to expulsions has presented a safety risk, the decision to call a forfeit for that team is justified by the rules. If they decide not to call a forfeit, for whatever reason, then that decision is also justified by the rules.