Sunday, June 15, 2014

5.9.18 A clockwise block 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 explains when a clockwise block is a penalty. The first element is movement in the clockwise direction. While previous discussions have brought up what might or might not be considered clockwise movement, as an official, I need to be sure that the blocker is indeed moving in the clockwise direction to call this penalty. If I cannot determine that the skater is definitely moving in the clockwise direction, I cannot make a call for a clockwise block. Also remember that officials need to position themselves as best they can to make this call. If I am completely in front of the action, or completely behind the action, I might not be as close as I need to be to make a clockwise block call. Also, as has been stated before in discussions, clockwise is determined by drawing an imaginary line across the track and if the skater is going past perpendicular in the clockwise direction, there is potential for a penalty based on the impact of the actions.

The impact assessment for this penalty is the same as all other blocking penalties. If you put the skater down or out, or if you or a teammate gain relative position, the action is illegal. Never forget the last part. Just because a skater stayed upright does not mean you didn't commit a penalty. Any block initiated while moving in the clockwise direction has the potential for a penalty.

The final part I want to bring up is the idea of initiation. In order for this penalty to be called, as an official I need to determine who initiated the action. If the clockwise skating blocker initiates the action, then the action is potentially illegal based on impact. If a counter clockwise skater moves to initiate contact with the clockwise skating blocker, then the impact of the action falls on the counter clockwise skating blocker since they are the ones initiating action. It can get confusing at times, but that is why as officials we must always be training our eyes to look for initiation and impact.

Bottom line is that if you chose to skate in the clockwise direction, you are opening yourself up for potential penalties. As in all things derby, track awareness is essential in avoiding this penalty.