Monday, August 12, 2013

3.4.2.2 To remain eligible for Lead Jammer, a Jammer must remain inbounds until they are within the Engagement Zone, the area in which theJammer may be legally engaged by a Blocker. In the event of a no packor no Engagement Zone, a Jammer must remain in bounds until reachingwithin 20 feet (6 meters) of the rearmost Blocker to remain eligiblefor Lead Jammer. No part of a Jammer’s skate(s) or body may touch theground outside the track boundary before initially entering theEngagement Zone. Until initially reaching the Engagement Zone, a Jammermay be blocked out of bounds by the opposing Jammer, rendering theJammer ineligible to become Lead Jammer.

Today's rule comes from the Lead Jammer section. This rule explains what a jammer must do to remain eligible for lead jammer status. This rule is, pretty much, straight forward, however, it's prevalence has gone away much in the past couple of years. Thanks to jams typically starting on the jammer line, when a jam begins the jammer is already in the engagement zone. This rule typically comes into play when the pack starts a jam at the pivot line, which is a rarity nowadays. Something that is questioned by some about this rule is what happens if a jammer blocked out of bounds by a blocker before reaching the engagement zone, since this rule says that a jammer me be blocked out of bounds by the opposing jammer. Definitely, if a jammer is blocked out of bounds by the opposing jammer, the jammer that is blocked out will become ineligible for lead, and so long as the block is legal, the initiating jammer will not go to the penalty box. That is because jammers can block each other anywhere on the track. Now, if a jammer is blocked out of bounds by a blocker before reaching the engagement zone, that means that blocker is out of play, and will receive a major penalty for the block. This still means that the jammer is ineligible for lead, based on the first line of this rule. There isn't an exception for the jammer being blocked out of bounds illegally, whether it be by the opposing jammer, or by an opposing blocker. In fact, if a teammate were to force their jammer out of bounds before reaching the engagement zone for any reason, that jammer would be ineligible for lead. Of course, any reason the jammer might put themself out of bounds without receiving a penalty will also render them ineligible. This would include skating out of bounds as a result of a missed block, skating out of bounds to avoid a downed skater, and skating out of bounds to retrieve a dropped helmet cover. 

To sum up, if a jammer goes out of bounds before reaching the engagement zone, or within 20 feet of the rearmost blocker in the case of a no pack situation, for any reason, they become ineligible to be lead jammer in that jam. 

Something that must be considered is that this rule applies even after the beginning of a jam. It applies to any jammer that is eligible to become lead. This means that if a jammer starts a jam in the penalty box - thus eligible to become lead jammer - then when they return to the track they must remain in bounds until they reach the engagement zone or within 20 feet of the rearmost blocker when there is no pack.

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