Saturday, June 14, 2014

5.9.17 A block by a stopped skater that includes physical contact that forces the receiving opponent to lose relative position, or allows the initiator or a teammate to gain relative position.

Today’s rule comes from the Direction of Game Play section of the rule book. This rule is the first action that is listed as a penalty under Direction of Game Play, and gives the elements needed in order for an official to call a penalty. The first element that is required is that the skater is stopped. All forward momentum has stopped and there is no clockwise or counter clockwise motion. (Clockwise motion is covered by 5.9.18). The second element is that the block MUST include physical contact. A positional block will not warrant a penalty under this specific rule. The final element is the impact; does the block cause the receiving skater to lose relative position (knocked down or out), or allows the initiating skater or a teammate to gain relative position.

The first two elements are pretty straight forward to explain. If the skater has ceased all momentum and initiates a block with physical contact, they are now potentially committing a penalty. The final element is what has changed about this rule from previous rule sets. The impact area is now consistent with all other blocking penalties. If the block causes the skater to lose relative position, which means it causes the skater to go down or out of bounds. Remember that simply causing the skater to place one skate out of bounds will trigger this penalty.

The last element of impact involves the initiator or a teammate gaining relative position. I see this most often when a skater will come to a stop, just as a jammer is coming through the pack, then initiate contact with a skater which creates an opening for the jammer to get through. The confusing part for skaters is that this happens so quickly, and because the receiving skater did not fall, they don’t see how the penalty occurred. I have even been told “There was no impact!” as the skater was going to the box. There was impact, as the jammer was able to get through the pack because of the contact initiated while the blocker was stopped.

The one thing to remember is that anytime you are initiating contact while you are not moving in any direction, you are potentially engaging in an illegal block. All it takes is one of your teammates to gain position because of that block to trigger this penalty.