Monday, June 10, 2013

6.13.34 A skater initiating contact or engaging an opponent before the jam-starting whistle that forces the receiving opposing skater out of their established starting position. This includes forcing a skater down or out of bounds.

Today's rule is an Illegal Procedure major penalty. It is illegal for a skater to engage an opponent prior to the jam-starting whistle. Blocks may only be made while a jam is in progress. This is really self explanatory. Therefore, if a skater engages between jams, and forces the receiver out of their established position, they will given a major penalty. This includes engaging an opponent while lining up for a jam, engaging an opponent just after a jam has ended, and even engaging an opponent while skating between the track and team bench areas. It is important to note that this penalty is for forcing an opponent to lose established position, not relative position. This penalty is most usually issued for skaters that are lining up prior to a jam and knock an opponent either down, or out of bounds, whether by accident or on purpose. This penalty is also issued when a skater engages an opponent after the fourth whistle of a jam ending signal. That particular penalty is often questioned, and it is pretty much consensus that if a skater has initiated engagement before the fourth whistle, but makes contact after the fourth whistle (e.g., a skater has wound up for a block before the jam ended, but made contact after the end of the jam) then there would be no penalty. Rather, this penalty would be issued for engagement initiated after the fourth whistle. Of course, it is the fourth whistle of the jam ending signal, which means that even if the four whistle blasts are repeated, it is the fourth blast of the first set of four whistle blasts which is the official end of the jam. The official verbal cue for this penalty is "Illegal Engaging".

This rule has not changed from the previous version of the rules. However, what has changed is that there is no longer a penalty for illegal contact before the jam-starting whistle that has minor impact. That has become a no impact/no penalty.