Hello Derby Fans, Dr. Brew here, Head Referee for the Brewcity Bruisers for the 2013 season. The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) has issued a new rule set for 2013 that completely overhauls the way women’s (and men’s) roller derby will be played. I am here to describe some of the changes so you will know what to expect at our bouts this season.
Major Change #1: No Minors. Last year, there were three levels of penalty that a skater could receive: a minor, a major and an expulsion. Minors were given when an illegal action (such as a back block) made the opponent stumble, but not fall down. Majors were given when an illegal action made the opponent fall or go out of bounds, and expulsions were given for egregious acts like intentionally shoving an opponent to the ground. This year, there are only two levels of penalty: majors and expulsions. Expulsions are the same as last year. For most penalties (such as back blocks), what used to be a minor is now no penalty. For example, if a skater hits the back of an opponent and she stumbles but does not fall or go out of bounds, it is no penalty.
There are a few penalties that used to be minors that are now majors. A clockwise or stopped block that causes the opponent to move in any way is now a major. A multi-player block that impedes an opponent for any amount of time is a major. Cutting in front of one person while re-entering the track used to be a minor and in front of more than one (or the foremost opponent) a major. This year, cutting one teammate is no penalty, cutting one opponent, or more than one teammate, is a major.
Major Change #2: One Whistle Start. Last year, the first whistle started the pack moving, and then two short whistles started the jammers. This year, everyone goes on one whistle.
Major Change #3: Delay of Game. There is a new class of penalties this year called “Delay of Game”. There are three things a skater (or team) can do to get a delay of game penalty: If a skater has been given a major penalty, but the penalty box is full, she is “in the queue” until a spot opens up in the penalty box. If the jam ends while she is in the queue, she must be on the track for the next jam, or she will get a delay of game penalty. If a team fields no blockers for a jam, the captain will receive a delay of game penalty. If a team is granted a timeout they do not have, the captain will receive a delay of game penalty.
So what does all this mean for the fans?
Jam starts will not have a lot of skaters standing still or taking a knee because everyone goes on one whistle. Hits that used to be a minor penalty are now legal, so there should be more hitting.
This season promises to be the most exciting yet.
Hope to see you there,
P.S. Want to read all the rules? Click here to go the WFTDA website.