Monday, April 1, 2013

6.9.16 A clockwise skating and/or stepping skater giving an assist that affects the recipient, regardless of whether or not it improves the recipient’s relative position. The penalty is given to the initiator of the assist.

Today's rule comes from the Direction of Gameplay section. It is a major penalty. If a skater is skating and/or stepping clockwise, and they give a teammate an assist, then they will receive a major penalty, regardless of whether or not the teammate's relative position was improved. This could look like a clockwise skating skater giving a whip to a teammate, or a clockwise skating skater giving a teammate a push. After all, the Glossary defines an assist as: "Helping a teammate by giving a push or whip." Where this gets interesting is when a clockwise skating skater "assists"a teammate by pulling them. I put "assists" in quotes, because, technically, a pull isn't an assist, according to the Glossary. So, if a blocker were to block a jammer out of bounds, then skate clockwise to draw the jammer back, pulling a teammate with them, they wouldn't - by the letter of the rules - be making a clockwise assist. However, if the same blocker turned around and pushed a teammate clockwise, then they would be making an assist, per the Glossary.

Where I question this rule is whether a skater should be penalized if they take an assist off a team while skating clockwise, or if they take an assist off a clockwise skating teammate. After all, this rule does say "a clockwise skating and/or stepping skater giving an assist". If a skater takes an assist while they are skating clockwise but their teammate is skating counterclockwise, that wouldn't fit the language of the rule. Similarly, if a skater were to take an assist off a clockwise skating teammate, then the clockwise skating teammate wouldn't technically be giving the assist, although that is my own personal interpretation, and I could be swayed to accept that having an assist taken off of you would mean you're giving an assist. Personally, I wouldn't call that penalty, but I could understand a referee who would.

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