Wednesday, August 13, 2014 Penalty Timing Officials: A game will have at least two Officials to oversee the Penalty Box. The Penalty Timing Officials time penalties and assist referees in ensuring a team skates short when they ought.

Today’s rule continues NSO week, wherein we’re saluting the non-skating officials who make roller derby possible. Today’s rule describes the third of the five NSO positions that must be filled in a regulation game: penalty timing officials, or more informally, “penalty timers”.

As stated in today’s rule, two penalty timers will oversee the penalty box. They are sometimes accompanied by an optional position, the “Penalty Box Manager”, who times the jammers and supervising the penalty box. Absent this position, the penalty times are each responsible for a specific team in the penalty box and overseeing the box as a whole. The jobs can be either quiet or chaotic depending on whether the game is light or heavy on penalties, and whether the referee crew is able to quickly and accurately address unexpected situations that arise.

Meany’s NSO Survival Guide outlines a number of tasks for the Penalty Timers:

- Instruct the skaters where to stand, when to stand, and when their penalty time has expired.
- Time the skaters’ penalties (stopping if they stand early or fail to stand at <10 seconds) for as many as four skaters as once. - Monitor the Point of No Return line for legal entry into the penalty box. - Monitor the players for legal safety gear usage (ie; only removing their mouthguard while in the box). - Manage double penalties on skaters (ie; serving two or more consecutive penalties) - Communicate unusual situations and penalty box-related penalties to referees. - Monitor the box for non-penalized individuals communicating with penalized skaters. As O.N. Meany also points out, a skilled penalty timer an excellent working knowledge of penalty box rules, good communication skills with skaters, refs, and NSOs; practice timing penalties with a stopwatch / penalty timing app, and a strong ability to focus and work amid noise and chaos. For more information read Meany’s NSO Survival Guide: Penalty Timer. Also, talk to your league’s resident NSO expert on the penalty box. Link:

If you have any tips on working the penalty box or want to shout out the name of your favorite Penalty Box Timer/Manager, please feel free to do so in the comments.