Friday, August 15, 2014 Jam Timer: A game will have one Jam Timer. The Jam Timer is responsible for starting jams and for timing 30 seconds between jams. The Jam Timer is also responsible for ending jams that run the full two minutes.

Today’s “Rule” is the last in our “NSO” week. (And boy is this a good one!)

The Jam Timer is probably the most visible NSO position since every jam starts with the Jam Timer signaling the start of the jam with one long whistle blast. There is also a little confusion at times about the role of the jam timer in maintaining the game time and jam time clocks. Hopefully this can help clear up that confusion.

Let me say that what follows comes from my experience as a jam timer during sanctioned games. While other games might follow a different protocol, I believe in training all officials to the standard used at tournaments and high level sanctioned play. Train your staff to try and meet the highest standard, and you will be surprised how quickly they can get there.

Ok back to the Jam Timer, here are the responsibilities and expectations.

-JT will start each jam by first saying “Five Seconds” (when 5 seconds remain on the 30 second clock) and then blowing the whistle and pointing at the pivot line when the 30 second clock gets to “0”.

-JT will blow 4 rapid whistles to call off the jam and use the appropriate hand signal to end the jam. The JT will only use the proper hand signal (Placing the hands on the hips) when they are ending the jam after 2 minutes have elapsed. They will not use a hand signal if they are simply echoing a call off.

-The JT keeps the ACCURATE game time and jam time, while the scoreboard keeps the OFFICIAL game time and jam time. Notice there is a difference. This is where communication between the JT and SO is vital. During a time out, the JT can communicate any adjustments to the game clock and make sure those adjustments are made to the official time. The JT can only do this during a time out.

-Once a Jam has started, the JT will take a position in the infield where they can see the official time and official jam time. JT will use the visible jam time to end the jam at 2 minutes. The JT can look at their clock to make sure it is accurate, but unless there is a major malfunction of the clock, the visible jam time is the one used to determine when the two minutes have elapsed.

-If there is an official time out, the JT will take a position on the Pivot line and give the appropriate hand signal for an OTO. Please notice that the signal is “The fingertips of both hands touch the top of their respective shoulder”. There are no thumbs used in this signal. You are not pointing with your thumbs to your back. Also there is no “up and down” of the arms. You touch the tops of your shoulders and leave them there. If there is a long OTO, you may “flex” the signal to stretch out your arms, but then you return to the OTO signal.

-If there is a team time out, the JT will take a position on the Pivot line and give the appropriate hand signal for a time out and then point to the team bench of the team who requested the time out.

-If there is an official review, the JT will take a position at the Pivot line and give the OTO hand signal, then point with both hands towards the bench of the team that requested the official review.

-If a jam is called due to injury, and more time than the 30 seconds between jams is needed, the JT will take a position on the pivot line and give the OTO hand signal. Even if everyone else on the floor is taking a knee, the JT will be standing and giving the OTO hand signal.

-Communicate with the HR about how they want to handle Delay of game penalties and make sure to follow those directions.

-Before starting a jam, make sure all officials are in position, and get one last look at the head ref. Sometimes a head ref will want a jam to start even if they aren’t in the starting position right away. Most head refs can get back into position quickly and do not want to interrupt game flow. Again, communication with the other officials is crucial for a JT.

I’m sure I missed a few things, but you get a good idea of what is required. To reference the discussion yesterday of the scoreboard operator, a JT cannot be tied to their watches. Keeping the time on the watches is very important, as it is the accurate game time and back up if the scoreboard malfunctions. However a JT must pay attention to the official game clock and make sure game play is based on that clock. The official clock is the one the skaters and fans see, and if the 2 minute clock has expired on that clock, the jam should end. If a malfunction has occurred, then refer to your watch and call an OTO once the jam has ended.

I have seen a few JTs that are always looking at their watches and not looking at the game clock. This is not a good practice. Remember you are the back up to the official time, not the true official time. Yes you make sure the time is accurate, and yes you communicate when adjustments are needed. Just don’t forget that there is a visible clock that everyone else in the game, and in the building, uses as the official time for the game. Strategy and other decisions are based on the time on the clock and the time left in the jam, so as a JT we need to make sure we are following it and adjusting it when the opportunity arises and is needed.

Thank you for participating with AoS and I in this week of celebrating our NSOs! We will return to our daily rule discussions tomorrow.