Friday, February 1, 2013

6.16.11 Habitual entry to the penalty box where contact, either actual or potential, by the skater’s seat to another person is caused by a structural failure of the seat and not the entry of the skater. Penalty is to be issued where proper precaution is not being shown by the offending skater, causing the habitual failure of a seat or seats.

Today's rule is a Misconduct major penalty. It is a new rule in this version of the rules. Previously, there were no rules concerning dangerous entry to the penalty box. This penalty is issued to skaters that habitually enter the penalty box, and sit down unsafely, causing structural failure of their seat. What does this mean, exactly? Basically, penalty box seats can be any of a number of items. Some leagues use folding chairs, some use plastic, law chairs, some use wooden benches, other use metal chairs such as found in ballrooms, and of course other options exist. Since there is no standard of what is used for penalty box seats, it is difficult to write a rule specifically to one type of seat. So, the rule was written to put the responsibility on the skaters to enter the box safely taking into account the seats in the box. For example, if the penalty box is made of flimsy folding chairs, and a skater repeatedly sits down very heavy, collapsing the folding chair, and makes contact with another person, they will be given a major penalty. If the penalty seat is a bench, and a skater repeatedly enters the box too quickly, topples over the bench, and makes contact with another person, they will be given a major penalty. The same formula applies to all types of seat used in the penalty box.

As the rule mentions, contact with another person is not entirely necessary. If another person avoids being contacted, but the potential was is there for contact, the penalty will still be issued. This means that if, for example, an NSO jumps out of the way of a toppling bench and isn't actually contacting, the skater who topples the bench will be given a major penalty.

Another factor of this rule is that it is issued when this action happens habitually. You might wonder what habitually means. Good news, there's an easy answer, and it's found in the Glossary. The Glossary entry for "Habitual" is:

Habitual - Any behavior that occurs three or more times over the course of a bout.

Therefore, if a skater enters the penalty box, causing structural failure of the seating, and makes actual or potential contact with another person, and they do this three times, they will be given a major penalty. Although this rule references "another person", thanks to 6.16.3 this does not mean a teammate.

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