Monday, December 10, 2012

6.13.8 More than one designated Pivot for a team on the track after the jam-starting whistle. The skater at fault is the Pivot who was the last Pivot to enter the track in that jam. If the referee is unable to determine the last Pivot to enter the track, the referee handling the Illegal Procedure must single out the Pivot on the track closest to the referee who calls the penalty. After the whistle, the referee must instruct that skater to return to the bench if that skater is an extra skater on the track (see Section 6.13.7) or remove the helmet cover if that skater is an extra Pivot, but the team otherwise has the correct number of Blockers. Any Pivot starting in the penalty box is the designated Pivot for that jam.

Today’s rule is from the No Impact/No Penalty part of the Illegal Procedures penalties. It is a rule that has existed for a while, however has been modified slightly in this version. Effectively, it says that having an extra pivot on the track when the jam starts is not in and of itself a penalty. The extra pivot has an opportunity to correct the situation and avoid a penalty. If there is more than one pivot, the extra pivot(s) will be instructed to remove their pivot helmet cover. If they do so, they will avoid penalty for being an extra pivot. To determine which is the extra pivot, the referee issuing the instruction to remove the helmet cover must determine the last pivot to enter the track. If there is already a pivot sitting in the penalty box, they are considered the active pivot for that jam, and thus any subsequent pivot in that jam will be considered extra. If more than one pivot is standing on the track without any in the penalty box, and the referee is unable to determine which was the last to enter the track, they must issue the instruction to the pivot nearest them. Some people have remarked that this is an odd instruction for the referees. Frankly, I see it as logical as it is clear and unambiguous. If a referee recognizes that there are too many pivots, but can’t remember which one entered the track left, rather than decide which one to pick (a decision which may be challenged by either team, potentially on grounds of bias), they just pick the closest one to them. Easy peasy.

To continue to avoid penalty, the extra pivot who has been instructed to remove the helmet cover must do so. If they fail to comply with the referee’s instruction to remove the helmet cover, they will be penalized. Oddly, there is no Illegal Procedure penalty for continuing to be an extra pivot. Thus, it would seem appropriate for the skater failing to comply with the referee’s instruction to receive an Insubordination penalty, or possibly an Illegal Procedure for improper uniform (6.13.24). With regards to Insubordination, there is no specific penalty enumerated for ignoring a referee. However, the first paragraph of the Insubordination section explains that “Insubordination penalties will be given for actions which demonstrate a disregard for the authority of the referees and officials, whether intentional or not.” This is a change from the previous language which defined Insubordination as “willfully failing to comply with a referee’s orders”, certainly an easier action to explain and penalize. If a referee is not willing to issue an Insubordination penalty to an extra pivot that refuses, or fails, to remove their pivot helmet cover, another option of a penalty to issue is an improper uniform Illegal Procedure. Certainly, a helmet cover is not part of a uniform. However, since the extra pivot is not, in fact, a pivot, that would mean they are a non-pivot blocker. Rule 3.1.3 says that non-pivot blockers don’t wear helmet covers. While it is a slight bit of a stretch, it seems appropriate. Regardless of exactly which penalty is issued, an extra pivot that refuses to remove their helmet cover when instructed to do so must be penalized.

This rule mentions that if the extra pivot is an extra skater in the jam, they must be sent off the track, per 6.13.7. This means that if there are five blockers on the track from one team, and two of them are pivots, the extra pivot will be signaled to return to their bench without being issued a penalty, if they leave the track. If they refuse to leave the track, and the jam must be stopped as a result, and that skater’s team will be issued an Illegal Procedure penalty, which will go to the actual pivot in that jam, not the extra pivot.

This rule wasn’t changed drastically from the previous version of the rules, as far as the language goes. What has changed is how the action is handled. Although the language is similar, it had become widely instructed that even if the extra pivot was not an extra skater on the track, they were to be sent back to their bench anyway. This was strange, since the rule said otherwise. Now, the rule has been written to be more clear, and specifically allows the extra pivot to remain on the track, so long as their team does not have too many skaters on the track, and provided they remove the pivot helmet cover when instructed to do so.