Monday, July 23, 2012

‎6.10.7 During a no pack situation skaters will be warned that there is no pack and will be penalized if they do not immediately attempt to reform the pack. During a no pack situation, out of bounds skaters must re-enter the track and reform a pack.

Today’s rule explains what happens when the pack is destroyed. When there is a no pack situation, the referees will warn the skaters with the appropriate hand signal (two hands flat palmed and in the air, facing each other) and verbal cue (“no pack”). Once there is no pack, both teams must immediately attempt to reform the pack. That means, if the pack was destroyed because all the Blockers from one team are skating in the front, and the other team in the back, the skaters in the front must slow down and eventually stop until a pack is reformed, while the team in the back must speed up until a pack is reformed. For the team in the front, the entire team need not slow down. Only one skater is needed to form a pack, so the rearmost skater may slow down and reform the pack without the other skates going penalized. It must also be noted that they aren’t required to skate clockwise to reform the pack. If the rearmost Blocker just stops, she has met the requirements of reforming the pack. Similarly, with the team in the rear, the entire team need not speed up to reform the pack, so long as one skater, the foremost, does so. Of course, this must be an attempt to reform, not an attempt to look like an attempt to reform. What does that mean? There’s a distinct difference between attempting to reform and looking like attempting to reform. The action a skater in the rear takes to reform ahead must look different enough from the action they were performing before the pack was destroyed, or else they will get a penalty. I know this sounds confusing, but it really is pretty simple. If you’re the foremost skater in the rear team, and the refs shout “no pack!” then you need to speed up to reform the pack. Simply going the same speed is not an attempt to reform.

The last part of this rule talks about out of bounds skaters during no pack situations. This is an important rule for skaters who get goated. Consider the scenario I mentioned above, with one team in front and the other team in the rear. However, this time the team in rear is goating an opposing Blocker, and then knock her out of bound, which destroys the pack. If the goated skater who is now out of bounds does not return to the track, she may receive a failure to reform penalty, as she is likely the skater most able to reform the pack.

As always, and as repeated in many rules throughout the rule book, both teams are responsible for reforming a pack. That means that one or both teams may receive a penalty for failure to reform.