Sunday, June 10, 2012

2.7.2 The penalty benches must be situated in an easily accessible, neutral area close to the track. Teams may use separate penalty boxes.

Today's rules explain where the penalty box, or boxes, may be located. By "easily accessible, neutral area close to the track", the rules have left leagues open to locating the box where their venue permits. Most leagues tend to use a penalty box located between the team benches along the front straightaway (where the Pivot and Jammer lines are). Some venues have the box located on a turn. Others have the box on the inside of the track. If the rules were to be very specific on penalty box location then some leagues would not be able to use their venues. The reason the rules specify a neutral location is to prevent one team from having an advantage over another, such as being able to communicate with skaters in the box if the other team's bench is too far away. Interestingly, this rule allows teams to use separate benches. I can't say for sure, because I've never seen this happen, nor have I ever discussed this option with anyone ever, but my personal assumption is that, again, this allows for venue considerations. Meaning, if a venue is so small that team benches are in the corners on turns 1 and 4, for example, the penalty boxes may be located in the other corners, turns 2 and 3. There's the possibility that the penalty boxes may be located on the inside of the track, with one box on either end of the infield, with NSOs in between. There's all sorts of scenarios and I can only imagine that is why this consideration exists in the rules.