Tuesday, March 11, 2014

1.11.2.1 If, during a team’s first official review of the period, the Head Referee determines that an officiating error was made in relation to the objection, the team will retain their Official Review.

Today’s rule comes from the Official Reviews section of the rules. This is a new rule in the most recent version of the rules. It is a subrule of a rule that has been modified in this version. Rule 1.11.2 no longer allows a team up to one Official Review per period. Instead, it guarantees a team at least one Official Review per period. That may seem like weird language, considering everyone knows that each team gets only one Official Review per period. Thanks to today’s rule, that is no longer true. Today’s rule explains that if a team calls an Official Review and makes an objection, and the Head Referee determines that an officiating error was made in relation to that objection, then the team will retain their Official Review. In fact, it is nearly impossible to change the wording of this rule to be any more clear. About the only part of this rule I would hope to see clarified a bit further would be the phrase “officiating error”. After all, this phrase can be understood in different ways. Some situations are simple. If a team calls an Official Review claiming the jam referee forgot to report NOTT points for opponents in the penalty box, and it is determined that the jam referee did, in fact, miss those points, then it can be easily said that there was an officiating error. However, if a skater is given a penalty, and their team objects to it in an Official Review, during which the consensus of the referees is that the penalty was incorrectly called, would that be considered an officiating error? I would personally err on the side of yes. After all, incorrect is synonymous with erroneous.

Now, there is the possibility to question other parts of this rule. For example, this rule does mention a team’s “first official review of the period”. This actually makes sense. After all, if a team uses an Official Review, and the Head Referee determines officiating error, then that team retains their Official Review. However, the phrase “retains their Official Review” means that they don’t get another one; they keep their first one. Which means that every Official Review is always their first Official Review of the period. However, while 1.11.2 says that teams are “guaranteed one Official Review per period”, it doesn’t specify a maximum number of Official Reviews they may have, such as the previous version of this rule did (“allowed up to one”). Therefore, if a team can have more than one Official Review in a period, why does it matter that they may retain their first? Of course, these are all questions that may be asked, but aren’t necessary. After all, when looking at how the rules work in the context of the game, and comparing the imperfect language to the intent of the rule, it is understandable to see that the point of this rule is to allow a team to retain their Official Review in the case of officiating error, but only once. No, this isn’t clear, hence the questions I mentioned above. Therefore, a team or a Head Referee may try to argue their case for either being granted or denied a second Official Review (after the first one was not retained), and not be incorrect to do so. As I have mentioned many times in the past, in cases where the rule isn’t 100% clear, and is interpreted one way and not the other, the important part is consistency. If a Head Referee allows one team more than one Official Review (when the first isn’t retained), then they must allow the other team the same opportunity, to be fair.

All things being said, it is my interpretation that each team gets one Official Review per period, and it may be retained in the case of officiating error, but only after the first time an Official Review is called in each period.

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