Wednesday, June 11, 2014

2.7.2 The team Captain must visibly display a “C” on their uniform or arm. The team Captain’s Designated Alternate must visibly display an “A” on their clothing, uniform, or arm.

Today’s rule follows upon yesterday’s discussion about skater numbers on players’ arms. It is from the Uniforms section in the rules, and covers how a team’s captain and designated alternate must be visually identifiable.

While yesterday’s rule was quite precise (visible, high contrast, characters must be 2+ inches in height), today’s rule is flexible. The main requirement is that the person must “visibly display” the letter. Using the same guidelines as a player’s skater number will almost always suffice. A team leader who writes an unusually a small-sized “C” or “A” will be asked to print a larger one on their arm, so there is little point in not displaying a large letter from the start.

There is one caveat. If a captain’s skater number is C4, they should not display the captain’s letter without sufficient spacing to distinguish between the “C” and skater number. Poor spacing could be reasonably be interpreted by a referee as a skater number of CC4. Ideally this would be noticed and fixed during equipment checks, as presenting a misleading skater number could warrant, at least in theory, a uniform violation penalty.

Regarding location, the “C” can appear anywhere on the captain’s uniform or arm. This includes their shorts and jersey, but does not include their helmet, pads, or skates. The designated alternate, often not a rostered player, is also given the option of wearing the “A” on their clothing. I have seen referees be flexible with this rule and allow alternates to print the “A” on the palm of their hand (so they can hold it up for a ref to easily see).

Where and how to display the “C” or “A” is granted significant leeway because it is not critical that team leaders be immediately identifiable in the same way as a skater’s number. It is mildly advantageous for the leaders to be immediately identifiable, as it allows referees to more quickly assess that a requested timeout is requested by the captain or alternate. This is just a perk, and there is no requirement the leaders be easily picked out so long as long as the letter is visibly displayed in a legal location.