Monday, March 3, 2014

2.7.4.4 A skater’s number may include only Arabic numerals and Latin letters (uppercase or lowercase, but see Section 2.7.4.2, without accents: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0

Today’s rule is from the Uniforms section of the rules. This rule has been change in the most recent version of the rules to properly clarify which characters may be part of a skater’s number. Previously, this rule said that a skater’s number had to be alphanumeric. Unfortunately, alphanumeric could be interpreted more than one way. There have been many who have said that alphanumeric means any letter of any alphabet and any numeral from any language. Clearly, due to the rule change, alphanumeric meant only the combination of Arabic numerals and Latin letters. These are the numerals and letters used in English, which is a nearly universal language around the world (or at least universal enough). Now, it is very important to note that this requirement is only for a skater’s number. Something misunderstood about the rules is that there are effectively two numbers that are dealt with: skater/roster number and uniform/jersey number. The skater/roster number is the number that is put on all the penalty and score tracking sheets, the inside whiteboard, that the refs use to issue penalties, that must be written on the skater’s arm/sleeve, and that must match if it appears on their helmet or hip/thigh. The uniform/jersey is the skater’s number, with a possible addition of small character’s before and/or after the skater’s number, that appears on the back of a skater’s jersey. Thanks to rule 2.7.4.6, a skater’s uniform number may include these small characters, which must be 2 inches or less in height, while their skater number must be at least 4 inches in height. That means you may see a skater’s jersey that has zero or more characters 2 inches or less in height, followed by at least one and up to four characters that may be a combination of only Latin letters and Arabic numerals which must be at least 4 inches in height and contain at least one numeral (this combination is the skater number), followed by zero or more small characters 2 inches in height or less. The small characters are purely optional, and are the only part of the jersey that may contain characters that are not Latin letters and Arabic numerals.

Now, it is important to note that the word “alphanumeric” has been removed entirely. It is important to note this because there was an interpretation that existed previously, albeit a rare one, that believed that the small characters allowed by 2.7.4.6 could also only be alphanumeric. That is definitely not true now, if there was any doubt before. The rules do still use the word “characters”, but for a specific reason ”Characters" is still used for 2.7.4.6 because they are not part of the skater number, thus they are not limited to just the letters and numbers specified in rule 2.7.4.4. They can be anything. A character is simply just a representation of something in a text or font. For example, on computers, anything that shows up in a text field is a character. This could mean a letter, a number, a symbol or punctuation mark, as well as ASCII characters, Wingdings, Webdings, etc. A character is effectively anything. However, the skater number is limited to characters that are only Latin letter A to Z and Arabic numerals 0-9. For a good definition of what “character” means in this context, see this Wikipedia entry:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Character_(computing)

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